HVAC air purifiers can make your home safer

Adding air purifiers to your HVAC system can help minimize the levels of allergens and other pollutants...

Adding air purifiers to your HVAC system can help minimize the levels of allergens and other pollutants in your home. Between the hot, humid summers and cold winters, most Atlanta residents spend all year using their HVAC units and very little time ventilating their homes. With indoor air pollution ranking as one the top five environmental health risks, taking steps to clean the air inside can go a long way to reducing your family's health risks and making your home a safer place to live.

What does an air purifier do?

Air filters or air cleaning devices installed in the ductwork of your HVAC system can remove pollutants from your home by capturing airborne allergens and particles on a filter material. The pollutants that a filter can remove include the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Dander
  • Dust mites
  • Smoke
  • Molds
  • Bacteria

Not all filters are created equal

There are a wide range of air purifiers available on the market, and they are all rated on an efficiency scale ranging from 1-20 called the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV. Most low-efficiency filters, which range from a 1-4 on the MERV scale, are designed mainly to protect the HVAC system itself from unwanted build-up, but can also filter most small and medium particles moving in the air. Medium-efficiency filters, which have a MERV 5-13 rating, are fairly good at removing most small to large particles. Those with a MERV 7-13 are even considered to perform almost as well as a HEPA filter. High-efficiency filters fall in the MERV 14-16 range, and true HEPA filters are given a MERV 17-20, though HEPAs are not usually installed in residential HVAC systems without a great deal of modification.

Which filter should I choose?

Choosing the right air purifier for your HVAC system will depend on the system itself. Some systems, for example, may not have the fan or motor capacity for a high-efficiency filter. You should consult with your local HVAC specialist before purchasing or installing a filter to confirm that it is compatible with your system.

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