Indoor air quality (IAQ) is becoming an increasingly greater concern, even more so than outdoor air quality. Using ventilation and filtration are the primary methods of reducing contaminants in the air you breathe while inside your home. Adverse health conditions can be caused by microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria), gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds) and particulates.
Poor indoor air quality can be multiplied with poor air turnover or high humidity. If allergies are a problem, a quality contractor can service your heating and air conditioning system and recommend system accessories that may prevent conditions that adversely affect health and comfort.
Your options for improved air quality in your home include:
Ordinary throw-away type filters catch about 75% of bulk dirt but they capture as little as 3% of minute pollutants. For slightly more effectiveness treated filters are available. These filters have been coated with dirt trapping glycol or mineral oil. Though they stop the same percentage of bulk dirt they block up to 10% of the smaller, microscopic particles.
An electrostatic air filter uses synthetic fibres that create a static charge to attract particles. Costing more than throw-away type filters, electrostatic filters can be reusable. Reusable models are simply sprayed with tap water to clean, but they still have to be replaced periodically. Disposable models should be replaced quarterly. Depending on the make, an electrostatic filter will block between 10% to 35% percent of microscopic particles. Some are sold as kits; the frame is permanent and the filter pad is replaced every couple of years.
An electrostatic precipitating (electronic) air cleaner, that attaches to the cold air return, presents the best solution by creating a static charge to attract 95 percent of the bulk dirt and 85% of the microscopic particles. This type of air cleaner uses a fan to draw particles in by fan and charges them with a series of high voltage wires. The particles are attracted by a series of plates (the precipitating cell) as they pass by.