Tips for Buying Air Filters: Arrestance, Efficiency and HEPA

Whether it’s for your air conditioning unit, your air purifier or just your vacuum cleaner, choosing the right air filter is important to its performance. Most big-box hardware stores have shelf after shelf to suit practically every need and requirement, but the sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming. With so many air filters on the market to pick from, how do you know you’re getting the right one?

There are three key terms you need to be aware of during the selection process:

  1. Arrestance – How well a filter removes large particles such as dirt, hair, dust mites and lint from the air.
  2. Efficiency – How well a filter removes microscopic particles such as dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and smoke from the air.
  3. HEPA – A high-efficiency particulate arrestance, or HEPA, filter conforms to the stringent guideline of removing 99.7 percent of particles – 0.3 microns or greater – from the air.

Almost all air filters are graded, listing a percentage of particles removed, using the above criteria.

Some other factors to consider when buying an air filter are:

What will the air filter be used for?

Not all air filters are created equally, and different devices and units have different requirements. HEPA filters can be found for a variety of machines, but are generally hard to come by for residential air conditioning units.

What size filter do you need?

One of the most common errors to make is not knowing the size of air filter you need before heading off to the hardware store. As helpful as the staff may be, it’s not something that should be estimated. A good trick is, once you’ve assessed the size you need, write it down either on the filter frame if available, the unit itself or as a note in your wallet so you have a go-to measurement at hand for next time.

What level of filtration do you require?

There are four rudimentary levels of filtration for most store-bought air filters:

  1. Basic – collects large particles like household dust, dust mites, lint, pet dander and pollen.
  2. Good – collects all Basic level particles plus bacteria and mold spores.
  3. Better – collects all Good level particles plus smoke, pollution, microscopic allergens and many virus-carriers.
  4. Best – collects all Best level particles plus odor-carrying particles.

*Most filters above Basic level are also electrostatically charged for optimal particle hold.

Will it need to be incinerated when you’re done with it?
The vast majority of air filters have the advantage of being either disposable or washable ones that you can reuse, but if you require a filter to separate out toxic or dangerous substances then it usually needs to be destroyed via incineration. In such a case, be sure to select a filter without metal components so it will burn easier.

Quick Reminders:

While UV light devices may claim to eliminate bacteria and certain particles, making your home healthier and cleaner, they can’t get rid of everything and are no substitute for a good quality air filter. Also, when choosing a new filter, remember that carbon is key if you want to remove odors and VOCs from your home. Keep in mind that a mere few ounces of carbon may not always do the trick, and that the best filtration units use much more.

Is Your Electrician Really Qualified For The Job?

qualified electricianThe electrical system is clearly the brains inside the house. It controls almost all of the activities and allows you to smoothly perform your daily functions.

The system, however, is also one of the most critical aspects of the house especially when it comes to safety. A faulty wiring can risk your life and turn your invested property into ashes in a matter of minutes.

Be it the installation of new electrical lines or a rewiring job, it is imperative that you seek the services of a licensed electrician and stop considering doing it yourself or hiring an unlicensed contractor.

In the current job market, a lot of contractors identify themselves as electricians, although only a few of them actually possess a license. It can be quite tempting to take on their offer, as they are far more inexpensive when compared to the fee of a professional electrician. However, if you want to ensure that the safety of your property and the lives of your loved ones are not compromised, then it would be better to shed some dough and contact a reliable, licensed electrician.

Benefits of a Licensed Electrician

One of the main reasons as to why a licensed electrician is the most reliable choice is the fact that this person has a clear understanding of the building code and the guidelines set by the NEC. This means that he will not second-guess on his methods and scrimp on the quality of the materials that he will use in performing the job.

Acquiring a license entails experience, training and an above-average understanding of the electrical system, and these requisites are all present in a professional electrician. With a licensed electrician, you can expect quick, accurate and quality service and they can also provide you with a guarantee of their work.

qualified electricianSince licensed electricians are familiar with the legalities concerning electrical works, they can also help you in these aspects.

Prior to starting out an electrical work such as a major rewiring or installation, you will need to secure an electrical permit in order to avoid being reprimanded by the authorities and fined with a large sum of money. A licensed electrician can facilitate and get you the necessary electrical permits needed so that they can start working as soon as possible.

Insurance Verification Benefits

If you are homeowner who lives in an old house and you are considering applying for an insurance policy or selling it, a licensed electrician will also prove to be very beneficial for you. Most insurance companies and real estate agents will ask you to verify that the electrical wiring in your house is in good condition and complies with the specification of the current building code. Your licensed electrician can perform the rewiring, repairs or the inspection for your residence and issue a “test and inspect” certification which bears the report that your house is not a potential fire hazard.

Hire a Licensed Electrician

Upfront, the service cost of a non-licensed electrical contractor is undeniably lower than what the licensed electrician will quote you. Keep in mind, though that these people are not sufficiently trained, cannot give you any kind of permit or certification, and they are susceptible to leave the work incomplete. When you look at it closely, a licensed electrician will be far more cost-efficient and they can help you avoid future complications, be it from faulty wiring or from legal and technical issues.