Analyzing the Air We Breathe

analyzing the air we breatheRecently, many people began thinking about the air we breathe, especially indoors, and the quality of that air. On top of that, it’s also important to understand the process of breathing and what the air we breathe is made up of. This seemingly insignificant subject actually has a great deal of interesting data, including the important role that air filters play in the air quality of our indoor spaces. Spending a lot of time in the unhealthy indoor environment can result in symptoms like a tight chest, wheezing, sore throat, eye, and nose irritation and in some sever cases, dizziness, and nausea. Pleated air filters used in HVAC systems is a highly beneficial way to scrub the pollutants and allergens that cause those symptoms from indoor air. Here’s what you need to know about how we breathe, the makeup of that air and the benefits of air filters.

Did You Know?

  • An average adult inhales and exhales approximately 400 cubic feet of air everyday
  • We average 17,000 – 23,000 breaths per day
  • Oxygen makes up about 20% of our air and our body only requires 5% of that
  • If Earth were compared to an apple, the layer of atmosphere containing the air we breathe would be the skin of the apple

The Anatomy of the Air We Breathe

Air is a combination of multiple gases: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon, carbon dioxide, and trace amount of other gases. There are particles and gases within the air that come from many sources, both nature and man-made. Much of what we breathe is filtered and exhaled, however, there is a host of contaminants that can directly impact our health and our surroundings. Whether the source is indoor or outdoor, naturally occurring or result from a man-made process, all particles are fall into two categories: aerosol or gas. Many types of particles can be captured with the air filters used in HVAC systems.

Aerosols – a suspension of a solid or liquid particle in the air which can be a solid, liquid, or compound:

  • Dust – a solid aerosol resulting from the reduction of a larger material or solid particle. Dust can be created by drilling into a surface (e.g. wood or concrete) or from natural occurrences (e.g. a volcano or sandstorm)
  • Mold – a bioaerosol derived from indoor and outdoor sources such as soil, plants, and moist surfaces such as walls, insulation, clothing, or carpet.
  • Bacteria and viruses- also bioaerosols with millions of varieties that are transported by air currents 
  • Fumes – created from vapor condensation from processes like combustion or welding
  • Fog – a liquid created during water vapor condensation
  • Mist – a suspension of liquid droplets that can include oils, paint, acids, and chemicals
  • Smoke – created from the burning or combustion of organic matter such as wood, coal, or tobacco
  • Smog – air pollution caused by industrial or chemical processes

Gases – a material that can expand indefinitely and fully occupy the space it is in. Gases exist in the form of molecules and include vapors and the gases that make up the composition of air. Gases can be odorous, toxic, and corrosive in nature. The presence of most gases will be recognized, but some (like carbon monoxide) are not detectable by the sense of smell. Gases may originate from chemical, manufacturing, and biological processes.

The Micron

Particles are measured in micrometers (also referred to as a micron), and have the abbreviation “μm”.  A micron is a unit of measurement that is the millionth part of a meter. One inch is equal to 25,400 microns. To put that into perspective, the average human hair is approximately 50 microns and the human eye is only able to see particles that are at least 5 microns in size. Particles measuring less than 1μm make up over 98% of the particles found in the outdoor atmosphere while only 0.005% consist of those measuring 20 μm.

The Role of Air Filters

Air filtration provides a way to attain a higher level of indoor air quality. Originally air filters were intended to simply shield the components HVAC systems and protect them from harmful dust build-up and extending its life. The manufacturing process of air filters has evolved over the decades and filtration media has become more refined and specialized. This allowed us to go beyond system protection into cleaning contaminants, allergens, and other bothersome particles from the air with the use of high-efficiency pleated air filters. The result was a significant improvement in indoor comfort and cleaner air in our homes and businesses.

For the best indoor air quality select the level of filtration based on the types of particles that you aim to capture with your air conditioning  and furnace filters. Choose a MERV rating that targets specific types of particles like pollen, mold spores and pet dander. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle that can be captured. A general guideline for MERV ratings is:

  • MERV 8 – for mild allergies and average dust particles
  • MERV 11 – for moderate allergies and smaller dust particles
  • MERV 13 – for severe allergies and the finest dust particles

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly to keep your indoor air quality clean and your heat running at its maximum efficiency. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filtersgrille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.