Choosing the Right Air Filter For Your Dayton Home

Trying to select the right air filter for your the U.S. home can be a daunting experience. What does my system require? Should you just get the cheapest? These are just a couple of the questions that make the selection mind-boggling. Let Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing try to help you de-mystify the air filter dilemma.

Here’s a simple way to tell how efficient your existing filter is (NOTE: Do this outdoors or with something below the filter so you don’t end up with a mess): Position the filter horizontally, then using common table salt, begin to pour the salt through the filter then see how much comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can assume that the filter will let dust pass through as well. You should probably upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient.

Home air filter selection depends primarily on three factors: Size, material and MERV rating.

1) Filter Size

Unless you have the proper size home air filter, you will never enjoy the full effectiveness your system and filter can provide. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the height by width and thickness, or just measure it yourself. The majority of home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a variety of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.

2) Material & MERV Rating

Filter efficiencies are given a number from 1-16 called the MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number identifies for the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to hold contaminants.

To explain MERV ratings more impactfully, these are some typical MERV ratings and how they connect to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for specific filters.

Rating Average Filtration Efficiency

MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)

MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube

MERV 9-12 >95%
Extended pleated

MERV 13-16 >98%
Electronic

Be Careful About High MERV Ratings

While a higher MERV number may ensure better filtration efficiency, it is very important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your furnace and AC system. The higher the MERV, the more restricted the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your goal is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.

Think about it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would actually be a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your the U.S. home. That’s definitely the “best” air filtration, but would also be a terrible way to live.

The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used based upon the advice of your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing technician to ensure your system has the capability of moving the proper amount of air through higher efficiency filters. You probably do not want to give up energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family deals with allergies or respiratory problems and needs a high MERV air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will achieve your energy and filter efficiency needs.

Filtration has changed greatly over the past several years. In the beginning, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to protect the comfort equipment itself. The story is different today. the U.S. area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a whole host of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!

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