Facts About Air Filters
Filters are rated on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) system to determine how efficient they are and what kind of materials they help filter from the air (MERV Rating Chart: http://www.mechreps.com/PDF/Merv_Rating_Chart.pdf). A rating of 1-4 offers minimal filtration and can remove dust mites, fibers, pollen, and dust from the air it filters. Ratings 5-8 can filter the air more thoroughly by removing smaller particles like mold spores, cement dust, and even hair spray. For a more superior filtration, ratings 9-12 can remove Legionella, lead dust, auto emissions, and certain fumes. Ratings between 12 and 20 are typically reserved for surgical rooms, hospitals, "cleanrooms", pharmaceuticals, and areas that deal with hazardous materials.
Air filters not only help filter the air in your home, but they also protect your HVAC system and the air ducts from accumulating dust and debris that would affect its efficiency. To help keep the air and your ducts clean, regularly change your air filters and don't allow them to get clogged.
Types of Air Filters
This is the most common type of filter on the market. Comprised of fiberglass, these filters help eliminate major debris in the air. Although they are on the lower end of the MERV rating system, they are highly affordable and easily accessible.
These filters have a higher rating on the MERV system, reaching between 5 and 13. Because they help eliminate mold spores and finer particles from the air, pleated filters could be a great idea for homeowners that suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. The drawback to these types of filters is that they can be somewhat less efficient. With more resistance to airflow, your system may have to work harder to push air through the house, particularly if you have trouble remembering to change the filter regularly.
These are very thorough filters that are rated between 17 and 20 on the MERV system and can filter out tobacco smoke and bacteria. If you have an indoor smoker in your home or someone that suffers from a condition that makes them susceptible to infections, this filter may be the right choice. However, they can be difficult to install and may require a professional technician.
These air filters can be washed and replaced, helping save on long-term costs for air filtration. The MERV rating is on the low end, only filtering out major dust particles, mites, and pollen at a 1-4. While these are convenient and cost-effective, they can cause additional issues in your system. If they are not perfectly dried before being reinstalled, they can grow mold and mildew and start to spread it in the air in your home.
Some newer filters can actually time how long they have been operating, sense the amount of debris they have accumulated, and alert you that it's time to change the filter. Some brands can even automatically order replacements as needed. While this technology is incredibly convenient and ensures your filters are never overloaded, make sure to check the MERV rating to see if it truly is a good fit for your home and lifestyle.
Royal Heating & Air is the best HVAC company at the Lake of the Ozarks, and we have your back for all your heating and air conditioning needs! Call Royal Heating & Air to schedule your fall maintenance and home comfort check to ensure all your systems are operating at maximum efficiency. We love taking care of you!
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