The Essential Role of Air Filters in Home and Vehicle Maintenance

Air filters are an essential part of home and vehicle maintenance, playing a key role in keeping the air clean and free from contaminants. Their basic function is to trap particles and contaminants such as dust, mold, pet dander, fungal spores, and other debris from the air circulating through your heating and cooling system. If the air filter is not changed regularly, the air cannot pass so easily, and more and more particles have the possibility of passing through the mesh, which impairs the quality of indoor air. Air filters also provide a first line of defense against larger objects, such as loose pieces of insulation that enter the system, where they could cause damage or present a fire hazard.

Clogged air filters are the leading cause of HVAC system failure. The Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) is a scale that evaluates the effectiveness of air filters in capturing particles with diameters between 0.3 and 10 microns. Oil-moistened polyurethane foam elements are used in some automotive replacement air filters. An air filter is the main line of defense against harmful particles entering a vehicle's engine.

UV air filters kill bacteria, viruses, molds and other pathogens by destroying their DNA using powerful short-wave ultraviolet light. They consist of a single piece of synthetic fiber or mesh with tiny or microscopic perforations; this is contained and carried in a frame and installed in the air filter equipment. Engine air filters should be replaced between 15,000 and 30,000 miles, depending on vehicle type and driving conditions. An air purifier can work in conjunction with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, the latter of which is best known for trapping airborne allergens.

Air purifiers can help clean the air in your home of unwanted particles, such as pet dander, allergens and smoke. If you have allergies, the more often the air filter is changed, the more likely you are to breathe easily at home and not face terrible allergies. However, to maintain the maximum possible performance of your car, it is recommended to replace your air filters at least every 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,000 to 24,000 km). Air filters are found in many homes, offices, retail spaces, laboratories, clinics and hospitals.