The Dirty Truth: Your Filter WON’T Clean Your Air
While many companies advertise that AC and furnace filters will clean your home’s air, this isn’t exactly true. A dirty filter will certainly not help the air quality of your household, which is why you should definitely keep up with regular changes. However, not even the best and most expensive filter can purify your air, and anyone who tells you that is lying.
That said, there are many ways you can improve the air quality within your home in conjunction with regular filter changes. Here are a few:
- Vacuum and dust frequently. Particularly if you have pets, but even if you don’t, dusting and vacuuming each week will keep allergens at bay, such as dust mites, pollen, mold and pet dander. Do you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter? Even better!
- Don’t smoke inside. Secondhand cigarette smoke can increase the risk of cancer in kids, along with prevalence of ear and respiratory infections and asthma.
- Keep your home at an optimal humidity level. An ideal humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent. Mold and dust mites love moisture and will proliferate if the conditions are ripe. Get a dehumidifier for your basement or other moist areas to pull the moisture out of the air. This will also help to control allergens.
- Open up your windows when the weather’s nice to get some fresh air circulating through your home. (This may not be a good idea if you live close to traffic-clogged streets or a construction site!)
- Use microfiber mops when cleaning hardwood and tile surfaces. According to WebMD, these mops are able to pick up and retain more dust and dirt than traditional fibers.
- Place some plants around the house. Certain house plants can vastly improve your indoor air quality, particularly aloe, spider plants, Gerber daisies, Golden pothos, chrysanthemums, weeping figs, azaleas, and English ivy, says Mother Nature Network .
- Change your furnace and AC filters regularly, as set forth by the manufacturer. Some filters need to be changed every two to three months while others can go a bit longer. If you let your filters get too clogged and dirty, your system won’t work as efficiently.
Importance of Keeping Allergens Away
It’s crucial to keep allergens at bay for many reasons. The quality of your home’s air can affect your comfort level, to be sure, but it can also affect your health. OSHA says poor indoor air quality can lead to headaches, fatigue, concentration difficulties, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Chronic diseases such as asthma can also be aggravated in living conditions that feature contaminants or excess moisture in the air. In extreme cases, substances such as radon and asbestos can be breathed in by family members who have no idea what they’re doing to their bodies, as the symptoms (mainly deadly forms of cancer) don’t typically show themselves until many years later.
Poor ventilation can pose many problems contributed by temperature and humidity levels, recent remodeling projects, nearby construction, the presence of mold, cleaning supplies and vehicle emissions. So, the bottom line is yes – you need to change your furnace filters to help maintain optimal indoor air quality along with the other tips above, but the filters on their own won’t guarantee this.
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