August 3, 2016

When you think of pollution, you probably think of smokestacks and smog. What you don’t realize is that you probably face pollution every single day, and you don’t notice because it’s invisible and inside your home.

Scary, right? Indoor air pollution is a real problem and it often goes unaddressed because it’s so difficult to see. Common pollutants include:

  • Dust: Dust is everywhere, and with dust comes dust mites. Inhaling what dust mites leave behind can lead to lung and heart problems over time, as well as inflame your allergies.
  • Mold: Mold comes in particles that are small enough to be both invisible and airborne, which means you’re probably inhaling much more mold than you think. Inhaling mold can lead to anything from minor inflammation to major infections, especially if you’re allergic.
  • Soot: Soot can float around in the air for a long time, eventually making its way into your home. Inhaling too much soot can lead to heart disease as well as a host of respiratory illnesses.
  • Ozone: Ozone also usually makes its way into your home from the outside. Breathing too much ozone over time can cause chest and throat irritation in the short term and serious respiratory problems in the long term, especially for children and senior citizens.

These are just a few of the pollutants you’d be surprised to find out are fairly common in most homes. Even though they’re invisible, there’s plenty you can do to clean up the air that you breathe indoors. And one of the easiest ways to do it is to change the air filters on your HVAC system.

What is an HVAC air filter?

Air filters are a vital part of any HVAC system. Since HVAC systems function by constantly circulating heated or cooled air throughout your home, they’re a big part of your indoor air ecosystem. By properly filtering the air that circulates through your HVAC system, you’ll go a long way towards reducing your home’s total indoor air pollution.

Types of HVAC Air Filters

  • Fiberglass: Most HVAC systems come with fiberglass air filters by default. While they are capable of filtering out larger debris, they’re not actually that effective at cleaning your air.
  • Pleated/Polyester Filters: Pleated filters have more surface area than your run-of-the-mill fiberglass filter, which means they can filter more air and are better at catching finer pollutant particles.
  • Electrostatic Filters: Electrostatic air filters clean air using - you guessed it - static electricity. Some higher-end electrostatic filters are even easily washable and permanent.
  • HEPA Filters: High-efficient particulate air (HEPA) filters are the cream of the crop when it comes to common home HVAC air filters. Not every single HVAC system can use HEPA filters, but those that can fit them benefit from more thorough, comprehensive filtering.

When to Change Your Air Filters

As a rule of thumb, most manufacturers will tell you to change your HVAC air filter at least every two months. In reality, there are a few different factors that affect how often you should change them. If multiple people live in your home year round or if you have pets or you have allergies, it might be worth changing your air filters every 30 to 45 days to ensure that your air is as clean as possible.

Maurice Sheehan founded Central Heating & Cooling of Buffalo, NY in 1993 to provide a higher standard of HVAC service to Western New York. Central’s technicians include BPI-certified building analysts, heating specialists and more. We’re proud to be rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.

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