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Spring HVAC Maintenance: Using The Right Air Filter

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Your home’s HVAC system disperses filtered air throughout the rooms of your house to control the temperature inside. Typically most homes should replace their home’s air filter twice a year, unless your system is equipped with a washable filter. When replacing your home’s air filter make sure you are using the proper MERV rated filters to ensure the correct levels of filtration and air flow efficiency.

What is MERV?

An air filter’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating, is the measurement of:

  • How well filters remove particles in the air.
  • How efficiently air flows through it.
  • How long the life of the filter should last.

A filter’s MERV ratings can range 1 to 20, 1 being the lowest level of filtration and 20 being the highest. Typically most home HVAC systems will use a filter with a MERV rating between 1 and 12, higher MERV rated filters are typically designed more for commercial usage in places such as laboratories and hospitals.

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Graphic by Factory Direct Filters.

Types of Air Filters

There are various types of air filters that each have their own range of MERV ratings:

  • Disposable fiberglass are often the most economical type of filter, and usually have a MERV rating of 2 or 3. These mostly just protect your furnace, keeping it clean, and don’t provide much in the way of air filtration.
  • Washable filters have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. They require frequent cleaning, and if not cleaned properly can circulate fungus and bacteria throughout your home.
  • Disposable pleated filters usually have a MERV rating of anywhere from 6 to 12, and are considered a good, all-purpose choice for homes.
  • Electrostatic pleated filters are generally more effective than disposable pleated filters, with a MERV range of 8 to 12. Electrostatic pleated filters are good for homes with pets, smokers, or individuals with extreme allergies as they filter out harmful and odorous particles, and can come in disposable or reusable variations.

Using The Right Filter

Residential filters come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to get the right filter for your specific needs and system specifications. Your home’s HVAC manual will tell you the type of filter to use as well as what MERV rating it can handle. It’s important to note that the higher the MERV rating is for a filter the more restrictive the flow of air is going to be, lowering your systems energy efficiency.

Spring HVAC Maintenance

Spring and fall are typically the best times to have your HVAC system inspected and the filters changed. If you’re having issues changing the filter in your HVAC system or are looking for a spring inspection and tune up, call the professionals at The Plumber. Our HVAC technicians can have your system in shape for the warmer months ahead. Call us at (716) 894-4382 today to book your next service call!