Originally designed to protect the furnace and fan, air filters have a function that's increasingly surpassing mechanical performance - protecting our health. Although the effect of filters on eradicating particles is moderate at best, they are known to reduce their concentration in the home.
Airborne particulate invaders
Some particles are so tiny they can be inhaled and exhaled without trouble. Others can get trapped in the nose or throat, and some are too big to be inhaled at all. The worst offenders are the ones that make it to your lungs and take up residence. These respirable particles, which include bacteria and viruses, can cause irritation or respiratory illness.
Movement through the home, including vacuuming and tidying up, can stir up particles. Remodeling or renovation projects can introduce new ones. Just how much a person is bombarded with respirable particles relates to how active they are. At night, when no one is moving about, the number of particles is lowest.
Causes of respirable particles in the home
A variety of filters and removal ratings
The variety of filters available is almost endless, and it can take a bit of research to buy furnace filters . A testing standard known as MERV lets the buyer know how much filtration will be provided. Some of the higher-rated filters shouldn't be used in certain applications, however, as they can reduce airflow. When you know what you want, check with your furnace technician to be sure it's okay to install.
Different filters will come with costs for purchasing, replacing and more. Since filter effectiveness changes with the operation of the furnace fan and is at its best when the fan is running continuously, higher energy costs will be necessary to provide full filtering capacity.
How to control indoor respirable particles
Along with keeping shoes at the entrance of the home, limiting smoking to the outdoors and keeping windows closed, furnace filters can help reduce visible dust and airborne particles, making your home a bit more friendly for those with allergies or other sensitivities.