What to Consider When Selecting an HVAC Air Filter

What to Consider When Selecting an HVAC Air FilterIn Peachtree City’s warm climate, our air conditioners get a daily workout for much of the year, so a quality air filter is a must. Gaining a good understanding of filter designs and efficiency values will help you choose the right filter for your needs.

Filter Types: Design Matters

The flat-panel air filter is the simplest filter design produced. These are usually disposable models composed of a 1-inch-thick sheet of fiberglass in a cardboard frame. Next in line is the pleated filter. In this design, the filter material is folded into accordion-like pleats, which allows more filter surface to fit into less space, increasing the filter’s efficiency and lifespan.

Pleated filters are typically made from fiberglass or from polyester or another synthetic material. Because the fibers in synthetic media are closer together than in fiberglass, this material offers greater particle-trapping efficiency.

Box filters, which are shaped like thick boxes, and bag filters, which consist of multiple pockets, are also available. While highly efficient, they can slow airflow too much for use in residential systems if not designed by a professional contractor.

MERV: Choosing the Right Efficiency

A filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) tells you about its efficiency. A higher MERV number indicates greater efficiency. Filters with MERV ratings between 1 and 4, which are usually disposable flat-panel models, keep debris out of your system, but they can’t improve your indoor air quality. Filters with MERV values between 5 and 8 trap enough mold spores, pollen, and other contaminant particles to keep the air clean enough for the average household.

If someone in your home has asthma or allergies, choose a filter with a MERV rating between 9 and 12. These are efficient enough to trap the tiny particles that are easiest to breathe in and therefore most likely to irritate the lungs. Filters with MERV numbers higher than 12 are too dense for some residential systems, so consult a professional before installing one. Installation may be possible with certain modifications to your system.

For pro tips on choosing the best air filter for your needs, contact us at Powers Heating & Air in the Peachtree City area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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