Can Air Filters Help Protect Your Health at Home?

by Staff

Can air filters help protect your health at home?

The short answer is yes.

Air filters can help protect your health at home, but there’s a catch. Some health benefits may be null if you’re using the wrong type of filter. When an upper respiratory disease like COVID-19 is spreading, it’s understandable that more people will look to protect their homes with the right kind of air filters. This guide will give you information on what filters do and which to choose.

Major University Research Study On Pathogens And Filters

In 2012, researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology published a report on HVAC filtration and the ability of infectious airborne diseases to be trapped by HVAC filters. The study, led by Dr. Brent Stephens, tested different air filters to see how well they could block dangerous droplet nuclei from passing through. They based which filters to use on their MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and ranges from 1 to 20. If a filter has a higher MERV rating then it filters out more particles. Filters with a MERV rating between 13 and 16 are used in hospitals and are not recommended for residential use. Some of the highest MERV ratings are used in operating rooms.

Specifically, the scientists set out to understand how airborne illnesses, such as influenza, the common cold, measles, tuberculosis, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are transmitted in indoor environments, and what the likelihood of contracting the disease is based on filter usage.

They designed their study on 25 hypothetical occupants in a building spending an 8-hour day together, such as in a school or office. The risk of infection of influenza was significantly reduced when a HEPA filter was introduced. In a single hour that an individual with tuberculosis was in a room with the 24 others, up to 13 of them could contract the illness. But when scientists introduced even a low-efficiency filter, it reduced the number of infected people by 4 individuals. Keep in mind that as people spend more time in a space, the more germs they are inhaling. While HEPA filters did the most filtering, they found that any filter was better than not having one at all.

Changing Your Filters

How often you need to change your filters depends on your unit, your health, and how much you want to save money. If you are using a fiberglass filter because you don’t have any allergies and you don’t have any pets, then you can change it every six months. If you have pets, then you will want to change your filters every 60 to 90 days. This will ensure that your filter doesn’t get clogged with pet dander. If you have allergies, then you will want to change your filter every 30 to 60 days.

The Right Filter For Your Unit

In order to maximize your health, you will need to pick the right filter, of course. It’s important to check the make and model of your air conditioning unit or furnace before ordering your filters. Know what specific size you need based on all dimensions, such as 16x25x1. Call a certified dealer for your air conditioning unit, who will be able to help you determine what you need.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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