Trying to select the right air filter for your the U.S. home can be a daunting experience. What’s the best one? Does the price reflect the quality? These are just some of the questions that make selecting home air filters so mind-boggling. Let Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing attempt to resolve your home air filter questions and allow you to continue enjoying the comfort of your home without concern.
Here’s a tried and true way to figure out how efficient your current filter is (NOTE: To avoid a big mess, we highly recommend conducting this test outside or over a protected surface): Position the filter horizontally, then taking everyday table salt, pour the salt through the filter and see the amount comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can assume that the filter will let dust that same size flow through. You really should upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient.
Size, MERV rating and material – these are the three primary factors used to pick the proper air filter for your home.
1) Filter Size
Purchasing a properly sized air filter for your the U.S. home is important. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. The majority of home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a variety of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.
2) Material & MERV Rating
MERV ratings are the efficiencies of the filter on a scale of 16. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number identifies for the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to capture contaminants.
To help explain the scale of this system, these are some usual MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so be sure to read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for specific filters.
Rating Average Filtration Efficiency
MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)
MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube
MERV 9-12 >95%
MERV 13-16 >98%
Be Careful About High MERV Ratings
While a higher MERV number may provide better filtration efficiency, it is very important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also take more to operate your HVAC system. The higher the MERV, the more restricted the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your objective should be to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Think about it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would probably be a piece of plywood that stops ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your the U.S. home. That’s maximum air filtration, but would also be a terrible way to live.
The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used on the advice of your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing service advisor to verify your system has the capability of moving the proper amount of air through higher efficiency filters. You normally do not want to lose energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family has allergies or respiratory problems and needs a high MERV air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will satisfy your energy and filter efficiency needs.
Filtration has changed considerably over the past several years. Originally, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to protect the comfort equipment itself. Today it’s a whole new ballgame. the U.S. area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a wide variety of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!
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