The filter for your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system just may be one of its most important parts. It protects the air handler from the airborne particulates in your air and can also help it double as an air cleaner indoors if you choose the right filters. All filters for HVAC systems have MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings that can help guide you when choosing the best kind for your home.
The MERV scale runs from 0 to 16 for residential HVAC filters. The higher the rating, the smaller the size of the particulates that the filter traps. The blue or white fiberglass filters commonly found in stores have the lowest ratings. While they’re dense enough to keep your air handler clean, as long as you change them regularly, they do little to trap smaller particles in your home’s air, like pollen or pet dander. These filters have ratings as high as MERV 4, but if your goal is cleaner indoor air, consider different types with higher MERV values.
The pleated HVAC filters also commonly found in stores have MERV ratings that go as high as 8, and are much more effective at removing smaller particles from indoor air. A filter with a top rating of 4 traps particles up to 10 microns, while one that has a rating of 8 traps particles as small as 3 microns. This includes nearly all indoor airborne particles, with the exception of smoke and the most minute dust particles.
The higher rating that these pleated filters have is due partly to their construction. Instead of being a flat surface, the pleats give the filter more surface area, increasing the amount of particles they trap. Using filters higher than 8 in residential HVAC equipment may slow the airflow too much, which can damage your air handler. It’s best to consult the owner’s manual to find the maximum MERV value and type of filter for your HVAC equipment to be on the safe side.
For more information about HVAC filters, or for help selecting the right filter for your home, contact the experts at Robert R. McGill Air Conditioning. We’ve provided heating and air-conditioning services for Southern Martin, Eastern Palm Beach and Northern Broward Counties for more than 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Palm Beach County, Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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Filed under: Air Filters
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