If you’re worried about the quality of the air you breathe and you’d like to protect the health of you and your family, one of the best things you can do is install an air cleaner for your home. But how exactly do air cleaners differ from air filters? Today we’re going to talk about how the size of the particles in your home’s air can have an impact on your health and why an air cleaner can out-perform even the best standard filters when it comes to improving the health your home’s air.
Air cleaners serve a dual purpose for your home
If you have a standard 1” filter installed in your air conditioner, its sole purpose is to protect your HVAC system from the buildup of dust and other large airborne particles. Without a filter, those particles would decrease your system’s efficiency and lead to potential breakdowns. Although standard air filters can protect your HVAC system, they do little to improve the health of the air you breathe.
Air cleaners, on the other hand, serve a dual purpose for your home. Not only do they protect your HVAC system, but they also protect you and your family from the tiny airborne particles that can make you sick and aggravate symptoms of asthma and allergies.
It all comes down to particle size
The particles in your home’s air are measured in a unit called “microns.” According to the American Lung Association, particles that are smaller than 10 microns can make it past our bodies’ defense mechanisms and particles smaller than 2.5 microns can penetrate our airways and lungs. These tiny particles are the ones that affect our health.
In addition, particles that are smaller than 1 micron in size pose the most serious threats to our health. These particles include cooking oil, insecticide dust, bacteria, smoke, paint pigments and more.
With that in mind, the benefits of installing an air cleaner for your home simply come down to the numbers. Below is a list of the effectiveness of various air filters (according to the EPA) vs. the effectiveness of a typical air cleaner:
- 1” fiberglass throwaway filter (MERV 4): Removes less than 20% of particles 3-10 microns in size; Not effective at smaller particle sizes
- Pleated filter (MERV 8): Removes about 70% of particles 3-10 microns in size; Not effective at smaller particle sizes
- Pleated filter (MERV 12): Removes about 90% of particles 3-10 microns in size; Removes about 80% of particles 1-3 microns in size; Not effective at smaller particle sizes
- Air cleaners: Removes about 98% of all particles down to 1 micron in size; Removes 94-99% of particles smaller than 1 micron in size
If you have any questions about installing an air cleaner for your home, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning company.