Most homeowners are aware that the most basic HVAC care begins with frequent air filter changes. However, when faced with which type to buy, they find very little guidance. Many presume that the most expensive filter is the best choice, while others think the cheapest version will do just as well. With more information about how the air filter affects the unit, you will find the selection much easier to make.
- Begin with the proper size. The easiest way to determine this is to look at the filter currently in use. Most filters are of standard sizes and about an inch thick. Some, however, may be up to four inches. Special sizes and shapes may also be necessary. Adjustable filters accommodate non-standard vents.
- Select the correct MERV rating. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is a measurement system created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to evaluate the effectiveness of the filter in removing particles from the air. Rating numbers range from four to 20. Filters may be flat layers of fiberglass, pleated to expand the filtering surface or even reusable filters that you can rinse clean with water.
- Consider air flow and life expectancy. HEPA filters, for example, are the highest efficiency filters as far as removing particles, but may limit air flow beyond the capability of the system to circulate the air. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends filters between seven and 13. Higher numbers are more appropriate for hospitals than for homes.
One factor to remember is that the primary purpose of the air filter is to protect the inner workings of the HVAC unit from damage by dirt and debris, and only secondarily to remove allergens from the air for human comfort.
If you have doubts or questions as to what type of filter you should use, ask the experts at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We have been providing HVAC solutions to homeowners in Traverse City, Michigan, for more than 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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