Tag Archives: merv rating

How to Compare and Choose the Right Furnace Filter for Your Georgia Home

How to Compare and Choose the Right Furnace Filter for Your Georgia Home Although it may have a low spot on your priority list, choosing the best furnace filter for your HVAC system can make a significant difference in your energy bills, home comfort and health. Forced-air HVAC systems require filters to trap airborne particulates to prevent them from entering air handlers. Dust can harm interior components, but an adequate filter can prevent these damages.

Choosing the right filter can also improve your indoor air quality (IAQ), particularly if anyone in your home suffers from respiratory issues. Air filters for HVAC equipment carry ratings called MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value). This scale runs from 1 to 16, although higher rated filters are available for whole-house air cleaning systems.

A higher MERV rating indicates that the filter can trap smaller particles that are often associated with respiratory distress. Smaller particles like pollen, pet dander, dust mite waste, or mold spores can trigger breathing problems that a denser filter can help alleviate. Fiberglass filters commonly found in grocery and home improvement centers trap only the largest particles and provide only basic protection for your system, doing little for your IAQ.

A furnace filter will either indicate its MERV rating on the packaging, or show some indication of its efficiency with terms like good, better and best. If you want to lower airborne particulate load indoors, choosing one designated as better or best will help, as long as:

  • Your system can handle the density of the filter. Higher rated filters may slow airflow through the air handler, harming your system. Your owner’s manual should state the maximum MERV rating you can use.
  • The size is perfect. Make sure the replacement filter fits snugly inside the air filter’s frame. If you can’t find the exact size, contact your HVAC contractor who may have it available, or point you to a source that does.

For professional assistance choosing an optimal furnace filter for your home, contact Powers Heating & Air. We’ve been providing top-notch HVAC services for Peachtree City homeowners since 1979.

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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What Exactly is a MERV Rating and How Does it Affect My Home?

What Exactly is a MERV Rating and How Does it Affect My Home?If you’re not inspecting your air filter every month and replacing it when it’s clogged, your home’s indoor air may be taking a toll on your health. HVAC air filters not only protect your system, but they also remove harmful particles from the air. Choosing a quality air filter is essential for good indoor air quality and your overall health.

What is MERV?

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and is an industry standard that indicates the percentage of particles the filter will trap. Although the MERV scale ranges from one to 20, MERV 12 is the highest rating a residential HVAC system can accommodate without restricting airflow.

Choosing the Right MERV Rating 

Most particles in your air fall between .1 and 10 microns in size. Allergens like mold, pollen and pet dander, as well as harmful particles, like lead dust and bacteria, can trigger or worsen allergy and asthma symptoms, causing respiratory illnesses later on in life.

  • MERV 1 to 4 filters trap less than 20 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns. It’s best to avoid these filters.
  • MERV 5 to 8 filters are of medium quality and are suitable for most air quality needs.
  • MERV 6 filters trap 50 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns, including pollen, mold and dust mites.
  • MERV 8 filters trap 85 percent of particles.
  • MERV 9 to 12 filters are the best filters for people with respiratory conditions.
  • MERV 10 filters trap 85 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns, as well as 50 percent of particles between 1 and 3 microns, including some bacteria and fungal spores.
  • MERV 12 filters trap over 90 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns and about 90 percent of particles between 1 and 3 microns.

Before upgrading your filter, check your system’s specs to ensure it will accommodate higher-rated filters without restricting airflow. For more advice about which MERV rating is best for your home, please contact 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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Get on Top of Pet Allergens in Your Home With These Tips

Get on Top of Pet Allergens in Your Home With These TipsIf you are a homeowner with allergies to animal dander, it may seem like getting rid of your beloved pets is your only option. While many people pursue allergy treatments like allergy shots or medications, they may not realize that there are many things they can do to greatly reduce pet allergens in the home.

Pet allergies can be difficult to treat, but a few simple improvements around the house can alleviate many symptoms. Frequent cleaning will get rid of much of the hair and dander on furniture, floors and surfaces. Use a good vacuum and wash chair and couch covers frequently.

The air filter on your HVAC system should also be changed regularly. Inspect it once a month, and change it when it looks dirt. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, ratings for the filter will tell you how well that filter will remove particles from the air. A higher MERV rating (more than 7 on the 1-16 scale) means the filter will remove more pet allergens from the air in your home. Many filters tell you right on the packaging how well they are at removing allergens.

Another options for removing pet allergens from your home is a stand-alone air cleaner or purifier. These devices vary greatly in size, efficiency and cost.  HEPA filters are very effective, and can come as individual units or as add-ons for your heating and cooling system. UV light filters are another popular option, using ultraviolet radiation to kill bacteria, dust mites and germs, and neutralizing toxic compounds in the air.

Proper ventilation is also important inside the house. Some HVAC systems include a whole-house ventilation component, but if your furnace or air conditioner does not include this feature, consider having a separate ventilation system installed. Options can range from a simple exhaust fan, which removes air from inside the house, to a full balanced system that both pushes indoor air outside and brings clean air in.

If you would like more information on protecting yourself from pet allergens in your Peachtree City area home, please contact us at Powers Heating & Air today.

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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Air Filters: There’s More to Know Than When to Change Them

Air Filters: There's More to Know Than When to Change ThemAs the Atlanta area shifts from heating to cooling mode, it’s a good idea to give some thought to the air filters used in your home’s cooling system. Air filters often get even more of a workout in a steamy Georgia summer than during the winter heating months. Keeping your A/C working efficiently – and cost-effectively – is about more than simply knowing when to change your air filters.

Recommended replacement schedule

The U.S. Department of Energy urges homeowners to change their HVAC filter at least every three months. More frequent changes may be necessary during peak heating and cooling periods, or if the household includes pets or lots of in-and-out traffic (e.g., kids).

Fiberglass filters can be washed. But fiberglass is not the best filtering material, and washing may not remove all trapped debris. In addition, washing can damage air filters with high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV). Replacing a spent filter is the best option, and has become the norm for most homeowners.

Which filter is right for your HVAC system?

You need to strike the proper balance between a filter’s MERV rating and maintaining airflow through your HVAC system. For residential cooling and heating systems, this usually means a MERV rating in the 6-12 range (for residential use, the ratings run from 1-16).

High MERV filters keep more dust and dirt out of your heating and cooling system and out of the air you breathe inside your home. Dirty furnace and A/C components require more frequent maintenance and repairs, and poor indoor air quality can lead to health problems in the home.

However, the same factors that make high MERV filters so efficient – such as denser filtering materials – mean they also may impede system airflow. Thus a filter with a MERV rating of 16 will put too much strain on most residential HVAC systems. On the other hand, a filter with a MERV rating of 11 will trap dust particles as tiny as 1 micron. It will catch nasty contaminants such as dust mites, pollen, mold spores and pet dander.

Still need help?

With more than 30 years of HVAC experience, at Powers Heating & Air, we’ll be glad to help you choose the right air filter for your system – and address any other home comfort concerns. Please contact us today.

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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Picking A MERV Filter: So What Do Those Numbers Mean, Anyway?

Picking A MERV Filter: So What Do Those Numbers Mean, Anyway? Peachtree, GA As you already know, living in northwestern Georgia means living with tons of airborne allergens, especially pollen. When you have trouble breathing outside, you want to make sure the air inside your home is as clean as possible. You can improve your indoor air quality by looking for air filters with high MERV ratings.

Before you look for an air filter with a high MERV rating, ask your HVAC contractor to check your system. An air filter that is very efficient can filter out a lot of dust and other small particles from your indoor air, but they can also reduce the airflow in your HVAC system to dangerous levels if you choose a higher rating than your system calls for. Your HVAC contractor will tell you whether the air filter is suited to your system and can also retrofit your system in order to accommodate efficient air filters.

  • What are MERV ratings? MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. It tells you how well a filter removes particulate matter. That includes dust, pollen and spores, pet hair and dander, smog and combustion smoke.
  • What is an efficient MERV rating? MERV ratings are usually between 1 and 16, with 16 being the most efficient. A high MERV rating means that the air filter will catch a lot of the small particles in the air, preventing them from circulating in your home. Many air filters that are only being used in homes have MERV ratings of 1 to 4. Check the MERV rating the next time you purchase an air filter and try to get the most efficient one you can find, especially if you suffer from allergies. The best air filters usually have MERV ratings of between 9 to 12. Filters with ratings above 13 are usually used in hospitals and other environments where cleanness is paramount.
  • What else should I know about MERV ratings? It is very important to clean or replace your air filters regularly, particularly when using filters with a MERV rating of above 9. Dirty filters can reduce airflow.

Contact the professionals at Powers Heating & Airfor more information on MERV ratings and to make an appointment for a contractor to check your HVAC system.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about MERV filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Powers Heating & Air serves Peachtree, GA and the surrounding areas.  Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!      

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