Air quality is important for you and your family. Air filters and furnace air filters help keep your air clean and healthy. Air filters reduce dust and pollen in your air. Learn what kind of particles can be in your home's air, the differences between filters, how to choose a filter or air purifier and much more.
There is more to keeping your home clean than just cleaning surfaces like counters and carpeting. A really clean home starts by cleaning the air your family breathes. No matter how well you clean your home, airborne particles can still circulate. Tightly sealed, energy efficient homes have contributed to an increase in poor indoor air quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the air inside your home can be two to five times worse than the air outside. In fact the EPA identifies indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. And if you're like many people, you probably spend about 90% of your time indoors.
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What are airborne particles?
Airborne particles include smoke, smog, bacteria, household dust, pet dander, mold spores, dust mite debris, and pollen. These particles range in size between 0.3 to 100 microns. Considering that the average diamteter of a human hair is 50 microns, these particles are so small that most pass right through ordinary furnace filters right back into the air in your home.
What are microscopic particles?
Microparticles are the smaller particles in the air that are between 0.3 and 1.0 micron and include fine dust, smoke, smog, bacteria and some pet dander and pollen particles.
What are dust particles?
Dust particles are made up of a wide variety of things including dead skin from humans and pets, finely ground plant and insect parts, minute particles of sand and soil, and fabric fibers from clothes, carpets, and upholstery. Dust typically accumulates in carpets, on horizontal surfaces, computer and TV screens, and sometimes clumps into dirty balls of fabric fibers, aslo known as "dust bunnies". Daily activities can stir up dust into the air. Like other allergens, dust can trigger allergic reactions to people who are sensitive and can lead to sneezing, runny nose, and itchy-watering eyes.
What is a micron?
One micron is one millionth of a meter or approximately 1/25,000 of an inch. For comparison, a human hair is approximately 50 microns thick.
What is pollen?
Pollen is made up of light, dry protein particles from trees, grasses, flowers and weeds. It is carried by the wind and is a potent stimulator of allergic responses.
What are mold spores?
Mold spores are generated from mold, which is a fungus that grows in damp or very humid areas and can often product allergic reactions.
What is pet dander?
Pet dander is made up of old scales; shed animal skin and dried saliva. It is extremely lightweight and tiny in size (approximately 2.5 microns) and can stay airborne for hours and settle on surfaces. Pet dander can worsen breathing problems for those allergic.
What is dust mite debris?
Dust mite debris is made up of the excrement and fragments of dust mites, which are tiny microscopic animals related to ticks and spiders that live in virtually every home.
What are bacteria?
Bacteria are living organisms, microscopic in size, which usually consist of a single cell. Most bacteria use organic matter for their food and produce waste products as a result of their life processes. Bacteria are everywhere. They are on everything we see and touch, and even in the air we breathe.
What are viruses?
A virus is incredibly small and simple. It's not really a living organism, in that it doesn't have a cellular structure, and it can't metabolize food or reproduce itself outside of a host cell. Once inside our cells, viruses can cause diseases. Like bacteria, viruses can be found nearly everywhere - particularly in our modern, tightly sealed homes. Unfortunately, the tiny particles floating around our houses carry viruses from place to place, and from person to person.
What is smoke?
Smoke can be generated by several things including cigarettes, cigars, wood burning stoves, and fireplaces. In addition to several known carcinogens, smoke can contain fine particles composed of wood tars, gases, soot, and ashes. In addition to causing the typical allergic reaction like sneezing and runny nose, exposure to smoke can cause burning eyes, bronchitis, and can even trigger asthma attacks to people who are sensitive.