Dev in Folsom has some concerns about the air quality in his home. He asks:
“Well, it’s that magical time of year again when just a little stroll outside can make me start to sneeze and sneeze and sneeze some more. We’re talking severe sinus pain, a runny nose, itchy eyes—the works. I also happen to live up in Folsom, which is a great place to spend time outdoors, whether you’re into paddle boarding on Lake Natomas, bike riding on the trails around Folsom Lake, or just going for a walk outside your office under the pines. As you can maybe tell, in spite of my allergies, I just can’t help myself. I love the great outdoors!
I know the air outside is always going to irritate my allergies. That’s not why I’m writing to you here today, though. What I want to ask you has to do with the air that’s inside my home. Our winters here in Folsom are wet. What I’m worried about is tiny mold particles growing in my vents and ductwork and getting blown into my house. So, here’s my question: What are the best air filters for mold? Thanks in advance!” – Dev in Folsom
Wow, Dev, reaching out to an HVAC service expert about your allergies is not a common thing to do, but I have to say it is a bit inspired. As you seem to be well aware, the quality of the air in your home can have a big impact on the health of your lungs and sinuses, especially if you don’t get the right air filters. I’ve talked in the past about how important this is, especially because in our region we have those famous Sacramento allergies.
…the quality of the air in your home can have a big impact on the health of your lungs and sinuses, especially if you don’t get the right air filters.
This topic is, of course, of utmost importance for an allergy sufferer like Dev, but even if you don’t have severe allergies, I think there’s some great value in this for homeowners in general. When it comes to air quality in your home, you simply must have the best possible filter for your specific HVAC system. And, you have to change it regularly, too.
How to Choose the Best Air Filters for Mold
If Dev has been reading the blog, he knows I’ve talked in the past about the best air filters for allergies and asthma. Well, I happen to have some good news: Most of the information that’s relevant to that topic is also relevant to finding the best air filter for mold. And, hey, since Dev is an allergy sufferer, I think we’ll just go ahead today and give that information a review.
When it comes to determining what kind of air or furnace filter to use in your home, I recommend focusing on two features:
- #1: Are they disposable? When choosing between disposable filters that need to be changed regularly or permanent filters that require frequent cleanings, I always recommend disposable. In my experience, it’s almost impossible to remove all of the dust, debris, and allergens out of permanent air filters. Plus, if you’re an asthma or allergy sufferer, cleaning a permanent filter could be pretty dangerous for you. Not only would your symptoms likely flare up, you’d probably end up spreading a lot of the captured dust, debris, and allergens around your home. Trust me, folks, stick with disposable.
- #2: Do they have a high MERV rating? MERV ratings, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, are very important when choosing which filter is best for your home. Most Sacramento houses have filters with a MERV rating of between 8 and 11, but for allergy sufferers, I’d recommend a MERV rating between 11 and 13. While MERV ratings go as high as 20, the higher the rating is, the more the filter will restrict airflow. This can cause your HVAC to have to work harder and expend more energy, increasing your monthly utility bill in the process. Of course, this will likely depend on your individual HVAC and furnace system, the size of your filter, and how often you run your furnace and air conditioner. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a seasoned HVAC pro out to your home to take a look at your system and help you choose the most suitable air filter for your space, your family, and your appliances.
How to Maintain the Best Filters to Fight Off Mold
I should also point out to Dev, and anyone else who wants the cleanest possible air in their home, that finding the exact right filter is only one step here. There are other things that you can do too to bring yourself some relief from the sneezes and sniffles that often accompany spring. They include:
- Have your air filter properly installed: Did you know that an improperly installed air filter can actually damage your HVAC while spreading allergens and dust throughout your home? If you don’t install your filter correctly, dust and debris enters your HVAC system and clogs it up, causing it to strain itself and circulate unfiltered air in your home. All too often, I go to people’s homes and see that they have installed their filters backward. If you want to do the installation yourself, pay close attention to the arrows on your filter, as they point in the direction that air is meant to flow. Also, make sure you read the filter installation instructions on your HVAC (usually close to where the filters go). If you’d like a guarantee that your filter is installed correctly so that it is increasing, not working against, your family’s health, call an HVAC pro to come out and install it for you.
- Change your air filter often: If you struggle with allergies or asthma, I recommend changing your air filter once every two months. I know this seems like a lot, but trust me, it makes a big difference. Filters can quickly get clogged with dust, allergens, and debris; if they aren’t changed out frequently, they can begin to circulate these substances in your home. And, since the particles from the filter can cause many asthma and allergy sufferers to have an attack or a flare-up in symptoms, it’s a good idea to have a pro do it for you. In fact, you can schedule a monthly filter change with the friendly HVAC experts at Bell Brothers, or your preferred local heating and cooling company. That way, you don’t even have to think about it.
- Have your HVAC ductwork inspected: No air filter is going to do any good filtering allergens and dust out of your home if there is a leak in your supply or return ducts. If this is the case, unfiltered air can enter the ducts and contaminate even the conditioned air in your home. Plus, conditioned or heated air can escape through the cracks, resulting in less heating and cooling efficiency and a significant amount of energy loss. I’d recommend that when you have a pro come in to help you choose a filter, that you also get them to inspect your ducts and check for any leaks or cracks. That way, they can clean them and seal them up so that your home will be allergen-free and more energy-efficient.
In closing, I can’t stress enough: Air filters really are the HVAC MVPs when it comes to keeping the air inside your house clean. But, Dev could have the best air filter for mold in the world, and it really won’t matter if he doesn’t take the time and energy to make sure that he changes it regularly. That’s why I recommend using an HVAC service like Bell Brothers to take care of it for you.
I can’t stress enough: Air filters really are the HVAC MVPs when it comes to keeping the air inside your house clean.
Life can get busy, and we get that, so we’ll come to your house and do regular checkups. While we’re there, we’ll also make sure we change out your air filter. Breathe easy this spring with a little help from your air filter and the No Surprise Guys at Bell Brothers.
Stop worrying about whether or not your HVAC system has the best possible air filter to keep mold out of the air in your home. Contact the experienced HVAC service professionals at Bell Brothers today for all the answers you need to make a sound decision that will keep your air clean and your budget healthy.
Wondering how to finance that new plumbing or water heater? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
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