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Antimicrobial Air Filters

Which filter should you buy?

Antimicrobial air filters work on any systems that use regular filters, including furnaces, air conditioners, and all equipment referred to as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (commonly called HVAC). These filters help prevent dirt or other particulates from getting inside expensive machinery and also improve the quality of the air the unit circulates.

Filters come in disposable and reusable/washable models that need to be cleaned or changed on a regular basis. How often the filters need to be changed or cleaned depends on how quickly they become dirty. For example, some filters need replacing every two or three months while others last more than six months. Climate affects how long a filter lasts. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you use your HVAC system more often than someone in a milder climate, which means you will have to change filters more frequently.

Microorganisms

Antimicrobial air filters are specially treated to trap microorganisms, including bacteria, mildew, fungus, mold, yeast, and algae. When we breathe these entities, we run the risk of becoming ill or developing breathing problems. Any technology that keeps them out of the air in our homes and offices sounds great, but there are some problems with these kinds of filters:

  • The filter must have contact with the microorganisms in order to have an effect on them; as dust builds up on the filter, it creates a barrier between the filter and the microorganisms.
  • Many of these organisms develop spores to survive; spores arenít generally affected by antimicrobial treatments.
  • If microorganisms pass through the filter without encountering the antimicrobial air filter substance, they will continue to grow.

Many people put a great deal of faith in high efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) and they often work well. The problem of accumulated dirt affects their effectiveness if they aren't well maintained.

Who Makes Antimicrobial Air Filters?

Most manufacturers of regular air filters advertise antimicrobial air filters for sale as well. Independent sites don't offer positive ratings for these products. To read what the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers recommend regarding antimicrobial air filters, visit Ashrae.org.

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