A furnace filter is an important component of any HVAC system. The filter functions to trap dust, pollen, pet hair and other airborne particles. This helps improve indoor air quality and keep the interior of the building from being overly dusty by preventing these particles from being spread throughout the house when the heating or air conditioning is running. However, the bigger purpose of the filter is to prevent these particles from getting inside your HVAC system and potentially damaging it. For this reason, it is essential that you use the right filter for your system and change the filter every one to three months.
Understanding Furnace Filter Ratings
Most furnace filters are rated using the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) system, which measures how effective the filter is at trapping airborne particles of various sizes. This system evaluates the filter and assigns it a rating from 1 to 20 with 20 being the highest. MERV 1 filters are the basic type found in window AC units, whereas anything with a MERV 17 or above rating is considered a HEPA filter.
Which MERV Rating Do I Need?
Some people assume that when it comes to choosing a furnace filter, they should simply buy whichever one has the highest efficiency rating. However, this really isn’t the case. Not only are the most efficient filters extremely expensive, but they also aren’t suitable for most residential or many commercial HVAC systems. This is because the more efficient the filter is, the more it restricts the airflow inside the system.
Most residential and commercial furnace filters have a MERV rating of between 6 and 12 as this is about as much as standard HVAC systems can handle. Typically, a MERV 6 or 8 filter is plenty sufficient for most uses. Nonetheless, if you live in an exceptionally dusty area or suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues, you may want to consider a MERV 10 or 12 filter to help provide additional protection from allergens and other airborne contaminants. Still, it is important to note that the more efficient the filter is, the harder your HVAC system will have to work.
The easiest way to determine which furnace filter is best for your system is to ask the professionals. With 70 years of experience serving customers in Erie and the surrounding areas, J.J. Agnello Heating & Air Conditioning Inc is the name to trust for all of your heating and cooling needs. We specialize in furnace and air conditioning installations, and we also offer maintenance and repair services on all major makes and models. Our team also works on boilers and fireplaces, and we even offer solutions to help you improve your home’s indoor air quality. Contact us today to get more information or to schedule an appointment.