Can Quality Air Filters Protect Your Family From Infectious Diseases?

 When it comes to protecting everyone in the home from the ever-present threat of airborne infectious diseases, you may not think of the lowly air filter as a vital part of that fight, but it is in fact, one of the most important weapons in your arsenal. That is because the air filter is the primary method of removing particulate matter from the air. Particulate matter can cause or exacerbate various respiratory illnesses. They can be responsible for everything from minor allergic reactions to serious, life-threatening illnesses like influenza.

 That is why getting the right air filter for your home is so important. There are many different factors that come into play when choosing an air filter and one of the main ones is the MERV rating of the filter. We’ll go over what that means in the rest of this article, but for now you should know that MERV 13 filters are the best for reducing the spread of infectious diseases in the home. Again, we will go over why that is the case in the rest of this article but you can check out a MERV 13 air filter review for more details. 

How Can An Air Filter Reduce The Spread Of Infectious Diseases?

In order to answer that question, you must first have some idea of how infectious diseases are spread. When someone breathes, coughs, or sneezes, they release tiny droplets of water into the air. These are called respiratory droplets and they contain particles that get exposed to the air when the water surrounding them evaporates. Those particles can remain suspended in the air for some time depending on their nature. 

Some of those particles are viruses like the common cold, influenza, measles, chickenpox, tuberculosis, and more. That mass of particles is called a droplet nucleus and if someone inhales that airborne droplet nucleus, then they could become infected as well. As for where air filters come in, some of them are capable of trapping droplet nuclei and preventing them from circulating throughout the air. However, only air filters with very high MERV ratings are capable of doing that.

MERV means minimum efficiency value rating and refers to how effective the filter is at capturing particles in the air. Low and medium rated air filters, which are in the one to eight range, can capture particulate matter like dust, smoke, bacteria, dust mites,and  pollen. Air filters with higher ratings of nine and above are capable of trapping smaller particulate matter like VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and droplet nuclei. So MERV 13 and higher air filters are the ones that can reduce the spread of infectious diseases in the home.

Should I Get a MERV 13 Air Filter For My Home?

Air filters that are rated at MERV 13 and higher are usually meant for buildings that need to maintain a sterile environment, like hospitals and laboratories. They are not usually meant for homes, but there are some cases where a MERV 13 air filter might be necessary for the home. If any of the residents of the home is so severely immunocompromised that an infection could put their life at risk, then a MERV 13 filter could be worth it. However, unless a MERV 13 filter is absolutely necessary, you do not need to get one for your home.

One of the reasons is that most homes are fine with an air filter in the seven to twelve range as they will scrub most particulate matter from the air. The other reason is that an air filter with a high MERV rating puts a strain on the HVAC system, which could drive up your electricity bill. That is because the fan of your air conditioner has to work harder to push air through an air filter with a high MERV rating. That means it uses more energy, which causes a spike in your electricity usage. 

Only Get a MERV 13 Air Filter If You Really Need One

It is understandable why someone would want to keep everyone in their home as safe as possible which is why getting an air filter with a high MERV rating would seem like the responsible thing to do. However, such an air filter is not necessary for most people and may end up hurting more than it helps in the long run. That being said, you should absolutely get one if it is necessary, but for most people, a quality air filter with an average MERV rating is more than enough to keep infectious diseases at bay for their families.
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