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Home Air Filters: Knowing Which One to Choose
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 you'll 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, here's 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 you're not purchasing a cheap imitation that will offer substandard performance.
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, you'll 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, they'll also need to be cleaned, but this is a much smaller task than cleaning all of the surfaces of the home's 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, you'll 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, you'll be far more likely to come home with the one that can adequately clean your home's 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 http://www.home-air-filter-edu.com, which provides free information to individuals interested in air purification and reducing their allergy symptoms.
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