Like most homeowners, you probably understand the basics of air filters and how to maintain them. You know they need to be changed on a regular basis, but did you know that some filters can be washed and reused? You may have also heard that HEPA filters provide the best air filtration, but are you aware that they may actually harm your air conditioner or furnace? Digging beyond the basics when it comes to air filters will help you feel confident that you’re providing yourself and your family with the best indoor air quality possible.
Finding the right fit
Getting the right size filter is important. This is usually a simple matter at looking at the filter that you’re replacing. It should have the dimensions printed on the frame, though if it doesn’t, you can measure it yourself. Some common sizes are 16x20x1 or 19x25x1 (with the numbers signifying inches). Your HVAC equipment manual also should have that information.
What about MERV?
Air filters are labeled according to their Minimum Efficiency Rating Value, or MERV. The MERV scale for residential filters runs from 1 to 16; the higher the number, the better the filter will capture smaller (and more) airborne particulates. An air filter with a rating between 7 and 12 is usually sufficient for removing the majority of airborne contaminants in your home, while not unduly impeding system airflow. If you have special air quality needs in your home, however, your HVAC professional may recommend a higher MERV filter, in the 13-16 range.
To HEPA or not to HEPA
HEPA filters offer superior air cleaning by way of a multi-threat system that directly traps large particles and ensnares smaller particles with a 99.9 percent effectiveness. This level of filtration isn’t for everyone, however. These filters create a strong reduction in air flow that can be damaging to residential units, and they may require significant modifications to your HVAC equipment.
At Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, we want our customers to make informed choices. Our technicians have been providing expert advice to Indianapolis area homeowners for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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