When it comes to your home air, the most important element you can buy is an air filter. Indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and no one likes to breathe pollutants. An air filter removes impurities such as dust, pet dander, or even bacteria from the air that flows through the system. Not only does this improve the air quality inside your home, but it also protects your HVAC system from potential damage. When shopping for an air filter, make sure to check the MERV rating.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Report Value and tells you how well a filter can capture contaminants. If the MERV rating is too high, your HVAC will need to work harder to produce efficient airflow. For example, hospitals use filters with a rating of 16, but that's not necessary for your home environment and using a filter with such a high rating will increase your energy costs. Not only do filters remove dust allergens, mold spores, and other pollutants from the air your family breathes, but they also filter out fine dirt particles that can degrade the performance of the HVAC system itself. Filters with more pleats will provide better filtration than those with fewer folds, trapping even the toughest allergens and contaminants, such as pet dander and mold spores.
Therefore, while the pleats offer thicker filter media, the larger surface area allows more clearance for air to pass. In general, high-efficiency filters that are also cost-effective are best for homes, but other considerations should include whether there are pets in the house, if mold is a threat, and how often filters need to be changed. Indoor air quality is an important part of maintaining your health and Home Climates is dedicated to providing premium service at reasonable prices to ensure your home stays comfortable. Some brands have created their own rating systems such as the Home Depot Filter Performance Rating and the 3M Microparticle Performance Rating. Not only can air filtration in the home be a matter of life and death for those suffering from a multitude of respiratory conditions, but even those who consider themselves normal and healthy can benefit from cleaner, dust-free and allergen-free air. MERV ratings measure the efficiency and effectiveness of air filters in capturing particulate matter in the air.
Most importantly, not all filters are manufactured equal: the quality of the filter materials determines the life of the product and the consistency of its performance. These filters will protect your HVAC unit from dust and dirt that could damage it while allowing air to flow freely. Air filters come in various shapes and materials each with different capacities and prices. In addition, an oft-cited comprehensive independent test of the effects of MERV filters 8 to 13 on HVAC airflow and energy consumption (an indicator of how hard the equipment is working) concluded that even “if no adjustments are made for the increased pressure drop of high MERV filters, airflow and energy penalties are unlikely to be severe at least, not until the filter is loaded with dirt. Some washable filters aren't much better but high-end permanent filters can compete with the very common disposable pleated filters which are available in a range even reaching MERV 12 or higher. During a wildfire you'll need to change filters more often than under normal air conditions and there are some indicators that can help you know when it's time to replace one. While the options may seem overwhelming choosing the best air filter is simple if you understand a few key factors.
It's important to consider factors such as MERV rating whether there are pets in the house if mold is a threat and how often filters need to be changed. With these considerations in mind you'll be able to find an air filter that meets your needs while also protecting your HVAC system from potential damage.