Not Just Any Air Filter Will Do -- How to Choose WiselyThe bad news is that the air in your home is full of allergens and contaminants, far more even than the air outside. The good news is that your HVAC system’s air filter can eliminate many of those contaminants, making your air more breathable. But what kind of filter should you put into the system? Getting the right filter for your home is essential to indoor air quality.

Choosing the Right HVAC Air Filter

Before you buy a new air filter, you need to know what size your system needs. It should be written on the filter for easy reference.

Next, consider the kind of filter. A honeycombed, fiberglass air filter is the least expensive, but if you really want to improve IAQ, look at a pleated filter. You can also get an electrostatic pleated filter, which actively attracts contaminants to it, removing them from the air.

Efficiency Ratings

The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) measures an air filter’s efficiency at trapping and removing particles from the air. The higher the rating, the smaller size of particle it can remove.

A MERV rating between 1 and 4 is the lowest level. It only traps large particles, such as pollen or dust mites. A rating between 5 and 8 offers slightly better residential filtration for whole-house HVAC units, capturing pollutants like mold spores. A rating between 9 and 12 is the highest level you should ever put into a standard HVAC system. It can remove things like milled flour, auto emissions and lead dust.

Any air filter rated higher than 12 — which is where HEPA filters fall — is likely too thick to operate in an HVAC system without professional guidance. This rating can restrict airflow, causing stress and ultimately damaging the system.

If you requires a higher level of air cleanliness, consider purchasing a separate air purifier for your home. These purifiers are designed for MERV ratings up to 20, which can remove bacteria, viruses, cigarette smoke, and more.

For more help choosing the right air filter for your home, contact our experts at Bradbury Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.

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