Are you searching for ways to ensure your home’s HVAC system continues to run smoothly? If so, maintaining your system’s air filter should be at the top of your list. Along with helping you save energy, choosing the proper filter for your home will help prevent premature breakdowns of your equipment while improving overall indoor air quality.
If you are like some homeowners, you may not realize that modern HVAC filters are available in different types and levels of efficiency. The MERV – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value – ratings give you insight regarding the effectiveness of your air filter. A scale of one to 16 is used with the higher numbers used for filters that can screen out smaller particles.
When you know what the MERV rating means, you can easily identify the screening ability of the filter you choose. The MERV filter ratings were originally created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. It was designed to offer a standardized system to compare filters.
When considering the MERV ratings, you must remember – just because it is rated higher on the scale, it doesn’t mean it is the right filter for your home. Filters that have a MERV rating over 12 may impede system airflow, which requires a contractor to retrofit your equipment so it can work with this denser and typically larger filter. If you use the higher-rated filters in your system, it may put undue pressure on the forced-air system you have in your home, which can cause reduced efficiency and premature breakdowns.
The air inside your home contains many contaminants. While this is true, using a filter that has a MERV rating of seven to 12 will remove most of them. Filters with this rating is enough for filtering all the following:
- Pet dander
- Cooking oil
- Textile and carpet fibers
Filtration levels beyond this will remove particulates that can impact your health.
The filter’s efficiency directly affects the frequency a filter must be changed. Filters with higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values will trap a higher number of particles when filtering your air, which means they are clogged faster. Clogged filters will have detrimental effects on your HVAC system, along with reduced air quality in your home.
Filter Types & MERV Ratings
It’s important you understand the difference in filters. This will make choosing the right MERV rating for your home easier. Some of the most common types of filters to choose from include:
Disposable fiberglass: MERV ratings of one to four
Disposable pleated: MERV ratings of six to eight
Disposable electrostatic: MERV ratings around 10
Permanent electrostatic: MERV rating of eight
High-efficiency pleated: MERV rating of 10 to 16 (most expensive option)
If you aren’t sure what filter or MERV rating is best for your home, contact Beebe Heating & Air Conditioning. We can evaluate your home and system needs to ensure the right type of filter is purchased and used.