Indoor Air Quality
Dust, hair, and microscopic organisms are just a few of the particles that swirl through the air in most homes. All hot air furnaces have a basic built-in air filter system. It’s usually a fiber filter (lightly coated with an adhesive), which collects dust particles as air passes through the duct system. For most people, that works just fine. But many people are unusually sensitive to dust and other allergens and need a higher level of air filtration. Bantam Home & Energy can help you choose the level of filter you need. Any of following filter types can be installed directly in the ductwork, so all the air in your home has to pass through them:
Types of Particle Filters
Passive Electrostatic Filters are made with polypropylene fibers that pick up a static charge as air passes over them. The static charge helps to hold fine particles. These filters can be washed and reused. Passive filters work better than standard fiber filters, and they fit into the filter slot of most residential furnaces.
Pleated Filters use a finer mesh, which catches smaller particles. Because the finer mesh also creates more resistance to airflow, the surface is pleated to offer more area for air to pass through. Pleated filters can be from one to six inches thick. One or two inch thick filters will fit in the filter rack of most furnaces, but the thicker filters require slight alterations to the ductwork.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters take the idea of a pleated filter to its extreme limit. Hundreds of square feet of filter paper are folded into an ordinary filter frame that is several inches thick. They remove very small particles, including some viruses. Like the thickest pleated filters, some alteration to the ductwork is required. Unfortunately, HEPA filters restrict airflow so much that a larger blower and larger ductwork are sometimes required.
Electronic Air Cleaners trap the smallest particles of all by imparting an electric charge to plates in the unit. Particles in the air pick up the charge when they pass over the charged surfaces, but then stick to oppositely charged plates downstream. A small amount of ozone is generated in the process, most of which is picked up by carbon filters downstream. These filters present very little resistance to air flow, so the existing blower and ductwork can be used. The area that collects the particles can be cleaned, by simply running it through the dishwasher with no detergent.
Ultraviolet Purifiers may be the best solution if your primary concern is mold, bacteria and other biological particles. UV Purifiers mount in the existing duct system with very little work and kill microorganisms as they pass by the unit. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) has been used in hospital ventilation systems to help reduce contamination and is now available for household use. These systems are completely silent and require very little maintenance.
Judging Filters and Air Cleaners
The results of standard tests can help you pick the right filter for your needs. The chart below illustrates how the effectiveness of different filters varies depending on particle size. Two filters perform well across the entire range of particle sizes: HEPA Filters and Electronic Air Cleaners. (Ultraviolet Purifiers are not included in these test results because, technically, they don’t “filter” the air.) To determine which filter system is right for your home or business, contact Bantam Home & Energy to discuss your present system and any air quality questions you may have.
Everyone knows that cold weather can mean dry noses, scratchy throats and itchy skin. But discomfort is just the beginning: Dry air is more expensive to heat, and it can be damaging to your home. Hardwood furniture, cabinetry and even floors tend to shrink and crack in the dry winter air.
The old quip, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," refers to the summertime phenomenon of "humid = hot" and "dry = cool." The same is true in the winter: Dry air feels cold in the winter, and humid air feels warm. You don't have to heat humid air as much to get comfortable. When you install a central humidifier, you can actually turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees and still feel comfortable.
Bantam Home & Energy can provide you with an easy, economical way to add humidity to your home, with an Aprilaire Automatic Humidifier. These computer-equipped humidifiers work with your hot air furnace to ensure the optimum level of indoor humidity all winter long, delivering up to 50% more moisture than other humidifiers.
If you’d like a no-cost, no-obligation inspection to see if Central Humidification is suitable for your home, call 860.567.9431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.