Tips For Picking An Optimally Efficient Air Cleaner
There are so many types of air filters out there that choosing the right one can be a challenge, to say the least. One of the difficulties is decoding the language of air cleaners--acronyms such as MERV and HEPA can leave the average consumer bewildered. Here are some helpful tips for translating the sometimes confusing language of air filters and picking the most efficient air filter for your money:
High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA)
One of the important acronyms to look out for is HEPA, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. HEPA filters were originally designed around the time of World War II to keep radioactive particles out of the air and out of the human respiratory system. Today the HEPA filter is considered top of the heap when it comes to efficiency, as it filters just under 100% of all 0.3 micron particles (smaller than the size of most bacteria).
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
Everyone?s out for a bargain these days, and some manufacturers have gotten into the game by producing inexpensive generic replacement parts for air filters. When the time comes for you to replace your filter or any other part of your unit, think long and hard about whether the lower cost is worth it to you in the long run. Generic parts may not be of the same high quality as the original brand version, and it could bring down the efficiency of the entire system. If so, you are certainly not getting your money?s worth!
In the air quality business, there?s a phrase for products made by the original brand or company that manufactured your filter: original equipment manufacturer (OEM). What it means is very simple: you should purchase replacement parts from the same manufacturer who made the air filter you are looking to repair or perform upkeep on. This will ensure consistency of results and the overall high quality of the system. Mixing manufacturers or purchasing replacement parts from a generic maker can compromise the system and allow more contaminants to remain airborne.
If the issue of cost is a concern to you, you might want to keep in mind that, when it comes to air filters, cost is often an indicator of quality. In other words, low-cost parts may be lower-quality, whereas higher-end parts are going to be of a higher quality. What that means is that you are going to get much more use out of the higher-end parts, which makes them more valuable in the long-term.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)
When choosing your original filter, as well as replacement filters, you should be sure to find out the filter?s MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value. The MERV rating tells you the efficiency (or ability to filter particles) that you can expect from this particular product. A low rating of 1 tells you that the filter is not very efficient at trapping particles, while a high rating of 12 to 16 tells you that this filter is going to be able to filter many more particles, relatively speaking. (The entire scale runs from 1 to 16.) The MERV scale is standard across companies and manufacturers, so it can be very useful when it comes to comparing various products or various brands.
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)
If you look on the manufacturer?s packaging you will see three CADR numbers that indicate the volume of filtered air for each of three contaminants: dust, pollen, and cigarette smoke. High numbers are good here, because that means the filtration rate is high. The experts suggest buying a filter with a CADR rate that is roughly two-thirds the number of square feet in the space you?re trying to clean. For example, if your room to be filtered is 10 feet by 9 feet (90 square feet), then you?ll want a CADR of 60 (two-thirds of 90).
Remember that the numbers on the packaging are indicative of the unit?s performance when used in conjunction with OEM parts?not generic replacement parts. To keep your unit running with the stated CADR rates you?ll need to stick with OEM parts.
About the Author: Don't let your lungs be a human vacuum or home air purifier, cause we were not built to absorb all that garbage found in the air. Improve the quality of your air and your life.