Most people think that air pollution occurs outside. However, the air in your Salisbury, Maryland, home or business contains many pollutants that can affect your health. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends upgrading air filters in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to improve indoor air quality. A filter’s effectiveness is rated by MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with higher numbers providing better filtration. Here are some facts about the four main types of HVAC air filters.

Fiberglass Flat Panels

Fiberglass panels are the standard HVAC disposable filter, usually rated MERV 1 to 4. They capture large particulates that affect the HVAC system, including hair, dust mites, pollen and textile fibers. However, they are not designed to improve the quality of indoor air. They are inexpensive.

Pleated Polyester Filters

Pleated filters remove smaller particulates because of their greater surface area. They capture dust, Legionella bacteria and some fumes. Pleated filters range between MERV 5 and 13. Those between MERV 7 and 13 are almost as effective as HEPA filters. Pleated filters are more expensive than fiberglass panels but are more economical than true HEPA filters. They are recommended for residential and commercial buildings and industrial workplaces.

HEPA Filters

High-efficiency particulate air filters remove almost all particulates. These filters may not be suitable for most household HVAC systems because their high resistance to airflow can affect HVAC performance. They are suitable for hospitals, clean rooms and laboratories because they remove bacteria, viruses and many gases.

Washable Filters

Washable filters are usually rated MERV 1 to 4. They cost more than pleated filters but can last years. They must be properly cleaned to remove bacteria and other pathogens. In addition, moisture must be completely removed before reinstallation.

Red Dog Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can evaluate the quality of your indoor air and recommend products to keep your air clean. We recommend better-quality filters that will work with your system. For more information about maintaining good indoor air quality, contact us today.

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