A Short Guide to Choosing the Right Air Filter
When the time comes to replace the filter in your Hahnville, Louisiana, HVAC system, you’ll quickly learn that not all air filters are created equal. Understand the basics of filters and learn the best kind for your needs with this short guide to choosing the right air filter.
When you’re assessing air filter options, Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings are some of the most important details to understand. These numbers indicate how efficient a filter is at trapping and holding onto large particles that measure between .3 and 10 microns.
MERV ratings start at 1 and top out at 20, with higher numbers indicating improved efficiency. Basic air filters typically have an MERV rating of four or less, and those in the five to eight range capture most indoor air pollutants. Filters with an MERV rating of 9 to 16 trap almost all airborne contaminants, and those on the higher end of that range also capture bacteria. Filters with an MERV rating from 17 to 20 are known as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.
The highest efficiency filter isn’t always the right choice for every HVAC system. Some filters have resistance levels that compromise the operation of the HVAC system, which can prevent air from flowing freely and can reduce efficiency significantly. Consult with the owner’s manual for your HVAC system to confirm its optimal filter resistance.
Standard Filter Types
Air filters come in a few standard types. Understand the following when you select an air filter for your HVAC system.
- Fiberglass Filters: These typically protect the HVAC unit only and don’t improve indoor air quality.
- Reusable Filters: These have very low MERV ratings and require significant maintenance.
- Pleated Filters: These are common in most residential HVAC systems, especially with MERV ratings between 9 and 16.
- HEPA Filters: These are highly efficient but are typically reserved for use in hospitals and industrial environments.
Need expert advice to make sure you choose the right air filter for your home? Call your local HVAC maintenance professionals at Bryans United Air Conditioning: 504-208-2071.
Image provided by Shutterstock