Tag Archives: MERV

HVAC Air Filter Ratings: Decoded

HVAC Air Filter Ratings: Decoded | PowersPeachtree City’s warm, humid climate presents no shortage of pollen, mold spores, and other air contaminants. The right HVAC air filter can do a lot to control those contaminants, and the more you know about filter ratings, the more easily you can find a filter that meets your needs.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)

This number tells you how effectively an HVAC air filter traps particles of certain sizes. The higher a filter’s MERV number, the more efficient the filter. Filters with MERVs of 1–4 are considered low-efficiency filters. These keep debris out of your system, but don’t clean your air.

MERV 5–8 filters trap most of the pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and other small particles you could breathe in. These are sufficient for most households. If you have allergies or asthma, however, opt for a filter with a MERV of 9–12. As an added benefit, these higher-efficiency filters also last longer.

Higher-efficiency filters are often dense enough to impair airflow and potentially damage the fan motor in some HVAC systems. Before you buy one, have a technician check that your system can handle one.

High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA)

A true HEPA filter has a MERV between 17–19 and can trap 99.97 percent of airborne particles down to 0.3 micrometers in size. Filters labelled as HEPA-type or HEPA-like are less efficient. True HEPA filters remove not only very fine particles of dust and pollen, but also certain bacteria, smoke particles, car exhaust particles, and other contaminants most filters miss.

Because they’re so dense, however, HEPA filters usually can’t be added to home heating and cooling systems without some modifications. If you’d like to install one, a technician may be able to create a HEPA bypass system in your HVAC system. This limits the amount of air passing through the filter at any one time, so your system always receives sufficient airflow.

If you could use some guidance on choosing an HVAC air filter, 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). For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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Can a Quality Air Filter Help Protect Your Air Conditioner?

Can a Quality Air Filter Help Protect Your Air Conditioner?The Peachtree City area’s sultry summers place a high demand on your air conditioner, so anything you can do to protect the system helps. Installing a high-quality air filter is one of the simplest ways to do this.

How the Right Filter Helps

The first job of an air conditioner’s filter isn’t to improve indoor air quality, but to protect the system from debris. Without good filtration, debris particles such as hair, carpet fibers, dust and pollen enter your system and build up on the blower fan motor, evaporator coil and other components.

Even a thin layer of buildup prevents these components from operating as designed, placing them under strain. The added pressure and heat can cause the components to fail early.

Those thin disposable fiberglass filters do the minimum acceptable by trapping large particles such as hair and lint. Because these filters aren’t very dense, though, many particles slip through. A well-made, higher-efficiency filter traps a much higher percentage of particles, protecting your equipment from damaging debris buildup.

Choosing Your Optimal Efficiency

The easiest way to find an air filter that will efficiently protect your air conditioner is to check the filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). The higher the MERV, the more efficient the filter. For optimal protection for your system and convenience for you, consider these two ranges:

  • MERV 5 to 8 – These are typically polyester flat panel filters or pleated filters made of cotton or synthetic material. They’re sufficient if no one in your home has a respiratory condition such as seasonal allergies.
  • MERV 9 to 11 – Filters in this range are typically pleated models. They’re an ideal choice for someone with a respiratory condition because they both protect the HVAC system and trap most lung irritants.

Check the air filter monthly and change it when dirt has begun accumulating. A dirty filter can knock down your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent and eventually let chunks of debris enter your system.

For more information on choosing a quality air filter, or for other home comfort concerns, contact the professionals at Powers Heating and Air.

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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Reduce Household Dust for Better Indoor Air Quality

Reduce Household Dust for Better Indoor Air QualityIf you have a dust allergy, you’re not alone. The dead skin cells, textile fibers and dust mites that comprise household dust are enough to make even the most robust nose sneeze. Fighting dust is an uphill battle, but you can gain the advantage with these tips to reduce household dust.

Keep Closets Organized

Clothes, towels and bedding shed fibers all the time, making the closet one of the dustiest places in your home. Box and bag what you can, and tuck away coats in garment bags during the summer. Keep the floor clear for easier vacuuming by throwing dirty clothes in the hamper, not on the floor.

Address the Bed

Sheets shed fibers of their own and collect skin cells as you toss and turn at night. To prevent your bed from making you sneeze, wash the sheets weekly in hot water to remove allergens and kill dust mites. Then wrap the mattress, box spring and pillows in hypoallergenic covers for good measure.

Trap Dust While You Vacuum

The vacuum whips up dust as it agitates the carpet. Much of it swirls around and settles on new surfaces. Catch some of this dust by turning the thermostat fan setting on your HVAC system to “on.” As it runs, the fan pulls air in through return registers and traps dust in the air filter before sending air back out through supply registers. Leave the blower on for 15 minutes after vacuuming; then return the thermostat to the “auto” setting.

Upgrade the Air Filter

Your efforts to trap pollutants as they circulate through the HVAC system are enhanced if you upgrade to a higher efficiency filter. Look for a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of up to 12 for efficient residential air filtration.

Use the Correct Cleaning Equipment

Collect dust with a damp rag, disposable electrostatic cloth or towel sprayed with a dusting agent. Don’t just spread dust around with a feather duster. Choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce the amount of dust found in the exhaust stream.

For more tips to reduce household dust, please contact Powers Heating & Air in Peachtree City.

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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The Importance of Air Filter Replacement

The Importance of Air Filter Replacement Your HVAC system’s air filter is essential for maintaining your home’s indoor air quality. Without it, you’re breathing in a host of allergens and contaminants, from dust mites and mold to bacteria and mildew. Unfortunately, many homeowners tend to neglect their filters, letting them clog up. This not only increases air pollution, it can also restrict airflow and put undue strain on your system, shortening its lifespan. In order to avoid these issues, your system needs regular air filter replacement.

Choosing an Air Filter

How do you know what kind of filter to install? To find out, you need to look at the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. This tells you what percentage of particles a filter can remove from your air, as well as how small the particles can be. Since smaller particles are more harmful to your health, this is important to know.

A MERV rating between 9 and 12 is ideal for the average home. It can remove around 45 percent of contaminants, including milled flour and auto emissions. Any filter rated higher than that might be too thick to function without restricting airflow and damaging your system. If you want better filtration, you’ll need a separate air purifier that can handle higher-rated filters.

Replacing Your Air Filter

How often you need an air filter replacement depends on the quality of your filter, as well as your family’s lifestyle. For instance, if you have pets in your home, or if someone in your family smokes, you’ll need to replace it more often. As a general rule, check your filter once a month. If it’s white and translucent, you can leave it as is. But if it’s dark grey and opaque, it needs to be replaced. Replace your filter at least every three months.

To replace your filter, find where it’s located in your system and remove the cover. Slide the old one out, and then slide the new one in, following the instructions on the filter to make sure it goes in correctly. Then, replace the cover.

For more advice on air filter replacement and raising your indoor air quality, call Powers Heating & Air in Peachtree City 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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