Just go to any home improvement store and the choice of home air filters can be dizzying. What does my system require? Is the more expensive products worth the investment? These are just a few of the questions that make the selection mind-boggling. Let Atmostemp Service Experts attempt to resolve your home air filter questions and allow you to continue enjoying the comfort of your home without concern.
Here’s an easy way to tell how efficient your existing filter is (NOTE: To avoid a big mess, we highly recommend conducting this test outside or over a protected surface): Hold the filter horizontally, then using common table salt, begin to pour the salt through the filter to see the amount comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can imagine that the filter will let dust particles of similar size pass through. You should probably upgrade your filter to something more efficient.
Size, MERV rating and material – these are the three primary factors used to pick the proper air filter for your home.
1) Filter Size
Purchasing a properly sized air filter for your Voorhees home is important. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. Most home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a variety of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.
2) Material & MERV Rating
The efficiencies of filters are rated on a scale of 16, known as MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number identifies for the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to trap contaminants.
To explain MERV ratings more impactfully, these are some common MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for specific filters.
Rating Average Filtration Efficiency
MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)
MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube
MERV 9-12 >95%
MERV 13-16 >98%
Be Careful About High MERV Ratings
While a higher MERV number may offer better filtration efficiency, it is extremely important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also cost you more to operate your HVAC system. The higher the MERV, the more difficult the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your goal is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Think about it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would actually be a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from getting into your Voorhees home. That's all-out air filtration, but would also be a terrible way to live.
Your best bet for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used subject to the advice of your Atmostemp Service Experts technician to ensure your system has the capability of moving the correct amount of air through higher efficiency filters. You normally do not want to give up energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems and the situation necessitates a high MERV rated air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will achieve your energy and filter efficiency needs.
Filtration has changed significantly over the past several years. In the beginning, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to safeguard the comfort equipment itself. The story is different today. Voorhees area homeowners expect their air filter to save kids from a whole host of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!