What Type of Air Filter Should I Use in My HVAC Unit?

Replacing the air filter in your HVAC system is one of the most important aspects of regular maintenance. A clogged filter, which can lead to reduced efficiency and poor air quality, is one of the most common HVAC problems homeowners in Brighton, IL, run into. Here’s what you need to know about replacing or upgrading your air filter.

Understanding MERV

Minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) is a measure used to rate a filter’s ability to remove particles from the air. MERV is rated on a scale of 20. A higher MERV means a better ability to extract dust, allergens, dander and other contaminants, including viruses and bacteria. A buildup of particles can be detrimental to the air quality in your home.

Types of Air Filters

The style of an air filter also plays a role in its efficiency. Common air filters include fiberglass filters, polyester filters and ultra-efficient HEPA filters.

Most disposable filters for home air conditioning systems are fiberglass. Polyester filters, though more expensive, offer an improved ability to stop dust and allergens. Pleated designs typically have higher MERV ratings.

HEPA filters remove a majority of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This fine level of filtering provides more resistance to airflow, which can put strain on a residential HVAC system. Superior filtering ability also comes at a premium price.

Choosing an Air Filter

Air filters for home cooling systems are listed with dimensions of height, width and depth. The size and style you need depend on your equipment manufacturer. Checking the dimensions of your current air filter is the easiest way to determine what size you will need.

Unless you are living with someone who suffers from asthma or severe allergies, high MERV ratings, such as those available with a HEPA filter, may not merit the added expense. A filter with a MERV rating in the range of eight to 12 is often enough.

When it comes time to perform regular maintenance like replacing your air filter, call our team at Den-Son Inc. Cooling & Heating in Brighton, IL, for all your service needs.

Image provided by iStock

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