The knowledgeable and skilled Calgary home builders at Fine Line Homes know that indoor air quality is serious business. Every Fine Line home comes with advanced filtration technologies that zap pollutants and contaminants, helping you and your family breathe easier and enjoy better health.
As a homeowner, it’s to your advantage to have a good working understanding of how to measure the performance of an indoor air cleaner. That way, if you want to add different technologies or supplement your current system, you’ll know how to differentiate an effective product from one that doesn’t measure up.
Calgary Home Builders: Understanding MERV Ratings
“MERV” is an acronym for “minimum efficiency reporting value,” and it offers a standardized way of measuring the performance of a mechanical air filter. The filters used in residential settings range offer MERV values from 1 to 20. Here’s how to categorize these ratings:
- MERV 1 to 4: Filters in this range are considered “low efficiency.” They don’t have much of an impact on indoor air quality, and are primarily used to keep your HVAC system components free of large particles that could impede performance or cause damage.
- MERV 5 to 13: These “medium efficiency” filters are effective at removing both small and large particles from indoor air, and can zap both organic and inorganic pollutants. The key advantage of medium-efficiency filters is that they are less expensive than high-efficiency filters and facilitate quieter fan and system operation.
- MERV 14 to 16: “High efficiency” filters create an indoor environment with air quality similar to what you would find in a hospital or clinical environment. The only real reason you would need to invest in these relatively expensive high-performance filters is if you or any member of your family suffers from severe allergies, asthma or chronic respiratory difficulties.
- MERV 17 to 20: Also known as HEPA filters, air filters in the 17 to 20 MERV range are not normally used in residential environments, as most conventional HVAC systems are not configured to accommodate them.
Calgary Home Builders: Efficiency Ratings for Portable and In-Duct Systems
In addition to air filters, you can use portable cleaners and in-duct air quality systems. Right now, for the most part, these products do not have standardized efficiency ratings. Here are some things to keep in mind if you need some guidance selecting a suitable product:
Electronic air cleaners. If you’re going to supplement your filtration system with an electronic air cleaner, choose a model with low ozone output. Ozone is a known lung irritant and it can intensify breathing problems in people with respiratory conditions.
Gas phase air filters. These filters are not commonly used in homes, as they aren’t normally designed to work in tandem with existing filtration components in most home HVAC systems. They also have relatively short lifespans and may release larger particles back into the air when they become saturated.
UVGI systems. If you’re planning to use a UV system, look for products with the highest possible level of radiation exposure. Otherwise, you may not be removing organic pollutants as effectively as you might think. Also, keep in mind that UVGI systems may not provide allergy and asthma sufferers with effective levels of relief, as dead spores can still produce reactions and respiratory symptoms.
Fan-powered portable air cleaners offer an exception to the rule, using a rating system known as CADR to measure efficiency. “CADR” stands for “clean air delivery rate,” which is expressed in cubic feet of clean air output per minute of system operation. The more efficient a portable air cleaner is, the more quickly it will be able to replace all the air in a given room.
Regardless of which air filtration technologies you choose, you should always conduct a thorough home inspection each spring to make sure you’re addressing any underlying problems that could contribute to diminished indoor air quality.
Calgary Home Builders: The Fine Line Difference
All Fine Line homes are built for superior energy efficiency and offer smart construction, helping you conserve resources, reduce consumption and do your part to maintain a greener, healthier environment.
Your custom home ownership dreams are more attainable than you might think. It’s a common misconception that custom-built homes are much more expensive than standard-built models, but the truth is that you can own a brand-new custom home for a more affordable price than you may realize. To learn more, please contact a Fine Line Homes representative for a fast, free, no-obligation custom home estimate.