Last Updated on April 4, 2023
The air filter in your home’s air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump is considered to be an important part, though many homeowners tend to overlook it. They may look like nothing more than a large cardboard box that is full of pleated materials or fibers, but an air filter can have an impact on HVAC system performance and indoor comfort.
Ideally, you need to change your air filters regularly so that your HVAC system can operate effectively. There are a couple of things you should know about home air filters before you decide to change them. This article discusses how you can choose the right air filters for your home.
The function of air filters
Air filters are often made up of spun fiberglass materials or from cloth that is placed in a cardboard frame or from pleated paper. The air filter is designed to clean air that moves through your heating and cooling system. Therefore, they can capture and hold various types of contaminants and particulates that can affect your comfort and health.
Your air filter can remove dirt and dust, pollen, fibers, mold, hair, animal fur, bacteria, and microorganisms. Remember that filtration can happen when used air goes back into your HVAC system to be cleaned and distributed again. This air can be forced into the air filter, and the system removes particulates, contaminants, and many more from the air.
Air filters tend to differ when it comes to how they clean your indoor air. Higher-quality air filters can remove more contaminants from the indoor air. You should note that air filter performance and efficiency is usually shown by the air filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value, which is also called MERV rating.
And, standard MERV values can be between 1 and 16. The number is an indicator of how good an air filter can remove materials from your indoor air. A higher MERV number indicates better efficiency.
Air filters that have MERV numbers between 1 and 4 are quite common on the market and they offer a basic level of air filtration. Filters with MERV numbers between 6 and 8 offer good air filtration and are usually utilized in residential settings. These air filters are often made up of pleated paper or cloth to give more surfaces for trapping particles.
You can also find air filters with MERV numbers between 9 and 12. These air filters are mid-range air filters that can trap very small or large particles. Lastly, there are air filters with numbers between 13 and 16. These are high-efficiency air filters and they can capture very small or large particles.
Keep in mind that you can also find air filters and filtration systems that have MERV ratings of more than 16. These air filters can be very effective, though they tend to be dense and thick. This interferes with airflow in your HVAC system. High-MERV filters can also lower the effectiveness of your heating and cooling system. Also, they can damage the HVAC system by preventing good airflow.