Changing your air filter means you are providing your household with cleaner and fresher air. You’ll also notice a decrease in utility bills since HVAC systems run more efficiently when air filters are changed on a routine basis. Air filters are low cost, but can save you big by helping you avoid costly HVAC repairs down the road.
Air Filter Benefits
One significant benefit of air filters is that they help you and your family members breathe easier by removing dangerous particles from the air. Dust, pollen, and other allergens can cause respiratory distress in allergy and asthma sufferers. This is why it’s important to check MERV ratings when you shop for an air filter. MERV is short for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value. Basic filters that remove dust and odors will have a MERV rating of 8. Higher rated filters will be labeled as MERV 11 or MERV 13. These types of filters are ideal for allergy control, pet odor reduction, and optimizing air quality for human health.
Air Filter Tips
Manufacturers recommend changing your air filter every 30 to 90 days. The number of pets in the home and whether anyone in the household has respiratory or allergy problems can impact frequency. Nearby construction and air pollution levels could also affect how often you need to change your air filter.
Follow all manufacturer instructions when installing new Filtrete filters. Turn off the furnace before changing and write the date of installation on the side of the new air filter. Dispose of the old filter in the proper receptacle and then slide the new version into the designated slot.
Air Quality Data
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has developed a comprehensive resource to monitor air quality called AirData. Statistics are compiled through monitoring stations from local, state, and tribal agencies. The data is meant to serve a multitude of purposes from informing the consumer about daily air quality to providing raw data to human health agencies.
Options for use on the AirData website include downloading statistical reports that provide annual summaries of the air quality index or AQI. You can view statistics gathered from individual monitors as well as average values for cities and counties. Technical reports are also available for agencies who require more detailed data on the values collected.
Visual models are also available through AirData. Users are asked to choose two pollutants, year, and desired geographical area. The tool will then generate an easy to read table with the pollutants plotted out by date and air quality index. Each pollutant will have their levels categorized as “healthy,” “moderate,” “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” “unhealthy,” and “very unhealthy.”
Finally, an interactive map is displayed on the AirData website. After launching the map, users are able to easily locate air quality monitors throughout the United States. After hovering over any monitor station on the map, you’ll be given the option to download data by year. The exact name and location of the monitoring site will also be provided.