With summer upon us, and plants pollinating in full bloom, those with allergies may be suffering more than they need to inside their own homes. Prairie ragweed, prickly lettuce and primrose are some of the major allergen-producing plants in Michigan. Other common summer allergens include pet dander from shedding or dry dust in the air. Controlling allergies with filtration (among other options) may be one of your best bets this summer for feeling better.
Most homeowners rely on lower quality filters in their home heating and cooling systems. Filters are graded by a series of ratings called MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value. Often, homes only have lower quality filters, rated around MERV 1-4. However, while these filters can usually handle pollen and are affordable, they are not great at removing particles smaller than 10.0 microns. Filters that are able to capture smaller particles get higher MERV ratings. A HEPA filter rates between 17 and 20 and can remove particles even smaller than 0.3 micron in size; however they may be overkill for most HVAC systems as they will require major modifications so as not to impede air flow.
A filter with a MERV rating of 13-16, while capable of removing bacteria, smoke and insecticide dust, may still be too dense for most household HVAC systems unless they are modified.
A filter rated MERV 9-12 stops most common allergens from 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size, but even these filters may cause airflow problems. Perhaps the ideal filter for most households is in the MERV 5-8 range, which can handle particles from 3.0-10.0 microns. This would include pet dander, mold, dust mites and certain chemical sprays.
It would be best to consult with an expert to determine the necessity of modifications for higher quality filters, as well as to consider other air quality factors that can affect allergen filtering.
You can always contact Aladdin Heating and Cooling, serving Southeast Michigan including locations in Warren and Lake Orion since 1945. We can answer your questions about HEPA or higher MERV rated filters in your home, and give you more advice about controlling allergies with filtration.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Detroit, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about filtration and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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