The average home heating and cooling system in Havertown, PA, homes require standard one-inch furnace filters. The length and width depend on the model of the furnace. However, if you’re addressing respiratory problems, health concerns, or odors, you’ll want to consider other options.
In your heating and cooling system, the filter or screen traps small particles that you don’t want circulating through the house. Your return vents draw in the air from each room and send it through the system.
This screen traps all the junk that comes in with the air. This way, it doesn’t come back out through the vents again. But, there are some limitations to this process.
Standard models catch larger contaminants, such as dust and dirt. You should replace them every month — once a season at the absolute most — or they’ll get clogged.
When that happens, the screen crates too much air resistance, and your system can’t circulate the way it’s supposed to.
But, those standard screens only do so much. There’s not much protection against allergens, odors, and harmful microorganisms. But, you can upgrade to account for these.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the options to consider depending on the problem you’re looking to address. And, we’ll tell you what to steer clear off. Finally, we’ll give you a few ideas on additional ways to improve your indoor air quality.
- MERV Ratings
- Allergies and Respiratory Problems
- Bacteria, Mold, and Viruses
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- More Air Purification
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or are looking for an indoor air quality upgrade for your Havertown, PA, home, call or email us at John Cipollone today!
Let’s start with how to tell what a filter’s capable of screening out. To do this, you want to check the MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, rating.
This information tells you the size of particles that the screen will catch. The higher the rating, the smaller the particles that you can block with it.
The average, or standard, residential model is somewhere between MERV 5 and 8. Ultimately, they go up to 16, but you can’t just get the strongest one and call it a day.
Here’s the problem with that: the more robust the screen, the more air resistance it creates. Just like a clogged screen will prevent air circulation, a model that’s too strong will prevent your HVAC system from pushing air through it.
The rule of thumb is to not go over MERV 13. Stick to 12 or lower if you can. Or, call in a professional to help you decide.
Allergies and Respiratory Problems
People with asthma, COPD, or seasonal allergies will want to reduce the allergens or other triggers in the air. In these cases, common culprits are pollen and pet dander along with regular old dust and dirt.
Before we get any further, bear in mind that a better screen is not a cure-all. Your best bet is to get on a good cleaning schedule and optimize your heating and cooling system.
But, as far as your furnace goes: a MERV 8 model or higher catches pollen and pet dander. So, do your best to reduce their buildup in the first place. Change linens often, use your vacuum cleaner regularly.
And, wipe surfaces with a damp cloth to catch and clear this stuff away. Don’t forget out-of-the-way places like window sills and tops of door frames where it can build up.
Bacteria, Mold, and Viruses
Next are microorganisms such as mold spores, bacteria, and — the hot topic nowadays — viruses. These are much smaller than dust or dander, so you need to go up to at least MERV 12 to be sure you’re trapping them.
Again, however, that’s pushing the limits of what a residential heating and cooling system can handle. Make sure you’re not straining your heater.
And, if you are especially concerned about these contaminants, you should consider some additional steps. We’ll get into those a little later.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
In one sense, VOCs are shorthand for odors: smells from cooking, kitty litter, cigarettes, the bathroom, perfume, and the like. When we’re talking about indoor air quality, we think about the molecular compounds that create the odors — the VOCs. Then, we think about how to eliminate them.
If smells are your concern, then you should look into carbon-activated or charcoal filters. These models fulfill the basic purpose of screening out dust and dirt and all. But, they also trap the tiny particles that cause unwanted smells.
These work just like regular screens, and you install them the same way. But, they start out black instead of the white cloth you usually see.
More Air Purification
We mentioned before that the screens aren’t a cure-all. Yes, you can upgrade to get better results. But, if you need to make the most drastic improvements possible to the indoor air quality in your Havertown, PA, home, it’s time to consider a whole-home air purifier.
These models work a lot like the ones you can buy at the store and plug in. But, they hook up directly to your heating and cooling system. This way, they treat the entire house, and you don’t have to turn them on or off.
At John Cipollone, we’ve gotten some fantastic feedback for our combo pack: The Air Scrubber by Aureus with an AprilAire filter.
This system uses a filter that’s much stronger than MERV 12 or 13. But, the system has its own blower, so there’s no significant air resistance increase. And, the Air Scrubber uses UV light to eradicate the particles they trap.
HVAC Service in Havertown, PA
Your heating and cooling system can make a huge, positive impact on your indoor air quality. In Havertown, PA, or anywhere on the mainline, homeowners have turned to John Cipollone for expert HVAC service since the 50s.
Starting with an in-person or video consultation, we’ll help assess your home’s needs and help you find the perfect strategy to breathe easier.
Furnace Repair In Radnor, PA
Is your heater giving you trouble even after you’ve replaced the filter? If so, call John Cipollone, Inc for expert, reliable furnace repair in Radnor, PA or anywhere on the Main Line. We’ve helped homes and businesses stay warm and comfortable winter after winter since 1953.