How Do Air Filters Capture Contaminants?

As we head into allergy season, you may be wondering: how exactly does a mechanical air filter capture contaminants? Electronic air cleaners, such as ion generators and electronic precipitators use electricity to negatively charge and then capture allergens and other indoor particles, but when it comes to mechanical air filters, there a few things to consider, one of which is MERV ratings. The indoor air quality specialists at Clean Air Act can help you with all your air filtration needs, so if you are concerned about allergy season this spring, just pick up the phone and give us a call.

Capturing Contaminants

Mechanical air filters use material known as filter media to capture contaminants coming into your HVAC system through the return air duct. The effectiveness of the filter media is highly dependent on its MERV rating. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it runs on a scale of 1-20; the higher the MERV number, the more effective the filter. Residences typically use filters in the 1-12 MERV range; once you go higher than this, you are in HEPA filter territory, and HEPA filters can restrict the air flow in your HVAC system. So how do contaminants get trapped in the filter media? There are two ways in which contaminants become trapped in the filter media: first, a good number of contaminants are attracted to some of the fibers out of which the filter material is made; the second is that the filter has folds in it, typically in a ā€œVā€ shape, through which the air has to pass through to get out of the filter. A V-fold forces the air to pass through the filter media multiple times, acting as a sieve; this helps capture many contaminants.

Interested to see how an air filtration system can help you this allergy season? Give our experts a call and schedule an appointment for your home in Portland, OR.

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