Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…is no way to choose the right air filter for the heating and cooling system in your Illinois or Northwest Indiana home. Merts Heating & Air Conditioning wants to talk a bit about the various filtration options available to you and what’s best for your home.
Know your MERV
The air filter may be the single most important part of HVAC maintenance, but it’s crucial to know how efficiently it is removing dust, dirt, and other particulates from the air in your home. Filters have what’s called a MERV rating. The higher the number, the smaller the particles it can trap. The experts break the ratings down into some broad categories:
MERV 1-6—These are the typical fiberglass filters you can buy in just about any store. While they are inexpensive, Merts cannot recommend them because they remove only about 10% of the particles in the air.
MERV 7-13—These are generally described as medium efficiency and are usually the best type of air filters for residential applications. Normally made of pleated polyester or cotton, these filters remove about 30 to 50 percent of particles. They are able to improve indoor air quality without blocking air flow.
MERV 14-16—These high-efficiency air filters are capable of trapping even smaller particles but in the process severely restrict airflow. For that reason, they are not recommended for residential use. They are primarily used in hospitals, restaurants, and other public facilities. Do not use these high efficiency filters unless your HVAC maintenance provider specifically says they are right for your system.
MERV 17-20—These are also called HEPA filters and can trap nearly 98% of all particulates and are pretty much confined to commercial use. There are some modern residential heating & cooling systems using HEPA filtration, but in most homes HEPA air filters restrict airflow so much it can severely damage your furnace or air conditioner.
Changing your filter
Our Merts technicians will ALWAYS check your filter during regular HVAC maintenance and will change it if needed, but this is something most homeowners can and will do on their own. The air filter is always located where the air return line enters the air handler. If you have any trouble locating it, you can always ask the technician when he or she is at the house. You should be able to slide the old one out and the new one in. Just make sure you have the right size and the airflow direction matches the arrow on the filter.
Depend on Merts for your HVAC needs
Here’s to hoping this helped take the mystery out air filters and explained why they are a key part of HVAC maintenance in your Illinois or Northwest Indiana home. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call Merts Heating & Air Conditioning. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.