How often should I change my air filter?

Different things are suspended in the air of your home or office with AC companies in Fort Worth TX. They can include dust, pollen, air borne particulates, mold, and other contaminants.

Some people are sensitive to air borne particles while others are not. Many people suffer from various forms of allergies. And some folks seem perfectly immune to any allergies or their symptoms; however, there is growing concern towards these contaminants to foster breathing problems like bronchitis or asthma.

In order to improve the quality of indoor air various types of filtration are important in removing particles suspended in the air. This is where air filtration comes in and plays a vital role in indoor air quality and your health.

Air filters trap many particles in the airstream by way of the furnace or air handler. Filters not only protect the equipment they are installed in but aid in trapping a lot – but not all – of airborne particulates. Many different types of filters are available today. Some are expensive and some are costly. Two of the more common examples of  filtration include:Standard hardware store filters–trap particles in various type of filter medium, such as cotton, fiberglass, or paper media. Electronic or electrostatic–attract and hold particles via electrical charge.

Bear in mind also that even with the best air filters installed by AC companies in Fort Worth TX, other issues can defeat the purpose of air filters. Leaking return air ductwork can suck in hot, dirty attic and basement air and render even the best filters useless. Having the integrity of your ductwork inspected by a professional contractor gives great peace of mind to knowing your filter is actually doing its job without fighting off duct leakage.

Most filter manufacturers use polyester fiber to make web formations used for mechanical air filtration. Polyester has a high temperature rating and it is widely used in many HVAC applications. Polyester is sometimes blended with cotton or other fibers to produce a wide range of performance characteristics. Tiny synthetic fibers, also known as micro-fibers are typically used in many types of HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters.

The tighter the weave on high efficiency filter media – naturally the more dust they trap – and naturally the dirtier they get all the quicker.

There are many confusing claims toward efficiency of air filters. But the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the air filter industry have come up with a standardized rating system, which provides a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating for each type of air filter.

The MERV filter rating system rates on a scale from 1 to 16, with a rating of 1 indicating the least effective filtration, and a rating of 16 indicating the most effective filtration. It is recommended by AC companies in Fort Worth TX to use a MERV 6 or higher air filter to lower the amounts of pollen, mold and dust that reaches the wet cooling coils in air conditioning systems. Wet coils with lots of pollen and dust can cause mold growth.

What is an electronic air cleaner?

Electronic air cleaners have been around for decades with AC companies in Fort Worth TX. They trap dirt and debris by way of a small electronic charge that actually traps air borne particulates to the filter media. One drawback is that, while these filters are super efficient, some maintenance is required. Usually, every six weeks or so, you would have to check on the status of your electronic air cleaner and either clean the meta plates on the older style or change or brush off the pads on the newer style. Not a huge hindrance but still something that requires remembering the last cleanings or changings of media. And some manufacturers actually include a self sticking  calendar to help remind homeowners of their last maintenance check.

What is an electrostatic filter?

Electrostatic filter have been around a long time. In fact, an old radio personality, Porter Randall, used to hawk these products on the radio. Initially, electrostatic filters are wonderful. They trap dirt and air borne particles like crazy. But most folks, if they think about it, take these electrostatic filters outside and simply hose them off and consider them clean. But this is not the case. If you hold these filter up to a light source – especially the sun – you can see “splotches” here and there that block out the light. And these splotches naturally block out the airflow as well. Many HVAC technicians call these filters “compressor killers” because each time they are “cleaned” they get dirtier and dirtier until system damage finally occurs due to lack of airflow. And the homeowner has no idea how it happened and usually think they just got a lemon for a system. One erstwhile homeowner actually built removable corners for his electrostatic air cleaner and took it apart every so often and cleaned each of the six layers with a toothbrush and then reassembled. Obviously, most folks would rarely do this as it is too much trouble. But this fellow had his electrostatic air cleaner for about 15 years!

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Super efficient air filter are called HEPA filters

A High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is capable of removing at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 micrometers at 85 liters per minute. AC companies in Fort Worth TX are here to help with this.

A HEPA filter acts like a sieve where particles smaller than the largest opening can pass through, but that is an incorrect assumption. Just as for membrane filters, large particles that are as wide as the largest opening or distance between fibers can not pass through them at all. But HEPA filters are designed to target much smaller pollutants.

Air borne particulates going through a  HEPA filter are primarily trapped (they stick to a fiber) by one of the following three mechanisms: Interception. Particles following a line of flow in the airstream come within one radius of a fiber and adhere to it.Impaction. Larger particles are not able to avoid fibers and are forced to embed in one of them directly; this increases with decreasing fiber separation and higher air flow velocity. Diffusion. This mechanism results from the collision of smallest particles with gas molecules, primarily those below 0.1 micron in diameter.

HEPA filters do not have MERV ratings, because they exceed the ASHRAE standards. HEPA filters are the only filters that are tested and certified to meet a specific efficiency at a specific particle size. HEPA filters must meet a minimum efficiency of 99.97% at 0.3 microns.

There are many styles and efficiencies of air filters for your home or office. Take a bit of time to study what you consider best for your application and budget. It should be recommended that you get the absolute best air filter for the application that you can afford. After all, your lungs are depending on it. We are the AC companies in Fort Worth TX for you.

*Diagnostic fee is waived with residential customers only and must be with same-day repair.

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