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Home Air Filters: Knowing Which One to Choose
By Jonathan Chase
Since air filters are one of the bests tools for eradicating allergens from
your home, more people are using them than ever before. The trick is to find
the one that works best for you, depending upon your specific needs. Before
going shopping, arm yourself with some facts, so that youll be more
prepared to choose an air filter, rather than listening to various sales
pitches from merchants who are interested in making a quick buck. Of the
five major types of air filters, heres a quick look at four of them
one type (the ozone air filter) is not environmentally friendly, and
consumers are not encouraged to purchase filters of this type.
Mechanical Filters One of the best types of mechanical filters is
the HEPA filter, which forces air through a special screen that traps allergens
such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander. If there are any smokers in the
house, a HEPA filtered device will also trap smoke and other airborne irritants.
Those devices which are unable to trap at least 90% of these particles are
ineligible to qualify as a HEPA filtering device. When shopping for mechanical
filters of this type, be sure that they truly meet HEPA filtering standards,
and that youre not purchasing a cheap imitation that will offer substandard
Gas Phase Filters This type of air filter is not used for the removal
of allergens in the home, but rather for removing odors and other types of
pollutants, such as gasses from perfume, cooking, paint or building materials.
In a home that needs to eliminate allergies which are triggered by exposure
to certain odors, this would be sufficient, rather than the HEPA filter,
which is designed to remove absolute allergens that are not gas based.
Electronic Filters Of the different types of electronic filters, the
most effective at trapping allergens is the style which uses electrostatic
precipitators with a fan. In the case of electronic filters, electric charges
are used to attract and trap allergens and other contaminants. Strive to
find one that includes collecting plates so that the particles are trapped
within the unit. Otherwise, youll end up having to clean all of the
surfaces within the home, because the allergens will stick to them. In the
case of self-contained units that include plates, theyll also need
to be cleaned, but this is a much smaller task than cleaning all of the surfaces
of the homes interior.
Hybrid Filters Simply put, these air filters offer a combination of
those characteristics which are found in both electrostatic and mechanical
filters. These may be preferred by those with allergens other than gas based
contaminants, but offer trapping devices for containing allergens.
In addition to knowing the types of air filters, youll also need to
consider things such as which types of contaminants will be removed from
the air; the efficiency of the filter when compared to HEPA standards; whether
the size of the air filter system will be large enough to continuously clean
the allotted space at least every six minutes; the clean air delivery rate
of the filter; whether the unit is silent or noisy; and how easy or difficult
it may be to change the filter, when necessary.
When you approach the purchasing of an air filter system with this information
in mind, youll be far more likely to come home with the one that can
adequately clean your homes interior with little or no fuss while
eliminating the right types of contaminants that plague your family.
Jonathan Chase (a lifelone allergy sufferer) is the creator of
filter-edu.com, which provides free information to individuals interested
in air purification and reducing their allergy symptoms.