Changing the air filter in your home might seem like one of the simplest chores related to home maintenance – all you have to do is change it out every so often, and you’re good to go, right? Well, the truth is, filters are a bit more complicated than that. If you aren’t using the right one for your home, you could be wasting your money, and hindering your heating and air conditioning efforts. The following will help you make sure you are using the right type of air filter so you can get the most out of your HVAC system.
Size Always Matters
Every heating and air conditioning system requires a specific size of air filter to ensure that it works properly. It is very important that you make sure you are using the correct size. If it is too small, it will allow pollutants and debris to enter the system through the gaps around the filter. When this happens, it can cause damage to the internal parts, resulting in pricey repairs.
You also have to make sure you aren’t forcing an air filter that is too big into the system. While you won’t have debris entering your unit, you will be forcing it to work considerably harder than it should be. If it continues to have to work under those conditions for too long, you will end up damaging the unit, which of course, will result in another round of repairs that could have been avoided.
Air filters are available in a number of different materials, with each type providing its own benefits. Each material has its own characteristics and MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The MERV value ranges from 1 to 20, and shows how well the filter performs in catching and trapping dust and particles. The higher the MERV number, the smaller the particles that the filter will trap. In most residential applications, filters typically only go up to 16 on the scale. Those that are higher are generally used in hospitals and other commercial applications. The following are some of the most common air filter options:
- Fiberglass – These are the least expensive filters, and they have a MERV rating of two to three. These are also disposable.
- Polyester – These are disposable filters with MERV ratings of six. They provide average filtration, and work well in most homes when replaced frequently.
- Electrostatic – These filters have a MERV rating of 10, and rely on a static charge for filtration. These provide good filtration, but can easily become clogged.
- Washable Filters – These are environmentally friendly and have a MERV rating of eight. Most HVAC professionals recommend against these filters, as they can easily harbor mold and mildew that can be spread throughout your home. They also require frequent cleaning to maintain filtration.
- High Efficiency Pleated – These filters have a MERV rating of 14 to 16, and are considerably more expensive than the other options. While they do provide improved filtration, most homes do not need this level of filtration.
Air filters also come in a variety of thicknesses. The most popular options are one inch, but there are also five inch media filters that not only provide exceptional filtration, they also help your system perform better as airflow is not restricted.
While there are a number of options available for air filters, the best one for your system is the one that is the correct size, provides the right level of filtration, and isn’t overly expensive. While you can pay more for higher MERV ratings, you can get similar results out of the lower priced filters if you make sure to change them regularly.
Did you know that there’s an easy way to buy filters? Berner A/C & Heat now delivers filters in every size direct to your home, including hard to find filters, for less than you you’re probably paying now. Want to learn more? Visit www.bernerair.com or call (985) 727-2302 to place an order.