If you’re worried about indoor air quality (IAQ), a media filter may be the perfect addition to the HVAC system in your New Lenox, Illinois home. Media filters boast impressive capabilities. They can be up to seven times more effective than standard one-inch filters, without negatively impacting the balance between air pressure and static pressure in HVAC ductwork. With a media filter, your airflow won’t be affected, and you’ll have far fewer airborne contaminants being circulated throughout your living environment.

Consider the Drawbacks of Standard One-Inch Filters

When your HVAC equipment was installed, it likely came with a standard one-inch filter. One-inch filters are a popular choice for HVAC filtration because they’re both inexpensive and easy to acquire. They’re also easy to replace. Homeowners are advised to swap these components out approximately once every one to three months. This prevents them from becoming overwhelmed by accumulated dirt and ensures that filter blockages don’t impede HVAC airflow. Standard one-inch filters can pick up:

  • Dirt
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Dander
  • Pet hair

However, these low-cost filters don’t generally improve the quality of your indoor air. Instead, they’re largely intended to keep the inner components of HVAC systems protected from heavy accumulations of dust that might otherwise stop them from working. Standard HVAC filters can’t pick up chemical contaminants, and they won’t filter out harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.

What Is a Media Filter?

Media filters are significantly thicker than standard one-inch filters, with have an average thickness of four to five inches. Moreover, these components have a compressed, pleated design and a far larger surface area overall. They’re installed in the return ducts of HVAC systems with the primary goal of boosting air quality and protecting resident health. Often referred to as media air cleaners, they have a significantly longer lifespan than standard air filters, and they boast a far wider area of coverage.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your home’s IAQ, investing in a standard HVAC filter with a higher maximum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating won’t necessarily do the job. Even higher-rated standard filters are largely built for protecting HVAC equipment rather than resident health. Conversely, media filters are specifically designed with resident health in mind, and even a basic media filter can trump the effectiveness of any high-rated standard filter to this end.

How Media Filters Outperform Standard Filters

Not only do media filters have larger surface areas, but they’re also rated to pick up micro-fine contaminants that standard filters cannot. These include micro-fine dusts or mists from herbicides, insecticides, and household cleaning agents. Mold spores, many common viruses, and bacteria are captured by media filters as well. Their higher levels of air filtration additionally make media filters an effective form of indoor odor control.

Comparatively, media filters are also easier to maintain. These filters last two full years and can be easily swapped out during annual or semi-annual maintenance services. Although standard HVAC air filters can be accessed and changed by homeowners themselves, standard filters must be replaced once every few months. Moreover, in excessively dusty areas or in homes that have indoor pets, standard filters should be changed at least once every 30 days.

Signs You Might Need a Media Filter

Media filters are always an excellent choice when one or more household members struggle with chronic respiratory issues. With the advanced filtration that a media filter provides, people with asthma, allergies, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will often experience fewer symptoms and less respiratory distress overall.

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a chronic respiratory condition, you might want to have a media filter installed in your HVAC if you frequently suffer from:

  • Itchy skin
  • Dry, watery, or itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Frequent illnesses

Certain environmental factors affecting your indoor air quality can also make a media filter a good choice. People who live near freeways, active construction, or unlandscaped grounds can benefit from higher levels of air filtration. If you have indoor pets, carpeted flooring, or an inherently dusty home, you’ll breathe a lot easier when your indoor air is cleaner and consistently fresh-smelling.

At Zark Heating & Cooling, we’ve been providing reliable heating and cooling services to homeowners in New Lenox, Illinois and the surrounding areas since 2008. Locals can also count on us for ductless mini-split installation and indoor air quality services. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of a media filter firsthand, call us today.

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