Choosing the Right Filter for Best Home Indoor Air Quality
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE AIR FILTER
Besides having the right air conditioner installed for your home by professional AC installers, the best thing to ensure home cooling comfort is your air filter. But when trying to find which air filter to buy, have you been confused? Do you know what the MERV rating of air filters is the right one to buy?
Tommy Cool is here to help! Having provided AC repair and installation across Corpus Christi for decades, our team at Tommy Cool Air (formerly Tiger Heating has serviced every type and brand of cooling system. While different units can vary widely, along with what size and type of filter is needed, one thing is always clear – if you don’t have a good, clean filter in place, your whole system is at risk. If you ever need air conditioning repair in the Corpus Christi area, call our team of AC experts at (361) 852-4450.
Not all air filters are built the same. Some filters do a much better job at filtering out harmful air particles. The first step to understanding how to find the best air filter your home needs is by understanding the MERV rating.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF AIR FILTERS
It can be difficult to know exactly which air filter you should get for your system. Beyond getting the right size filter for your unit, you have another option to consider – how well it filters out particles. Different people have different filtering needs. Some people need an expensive high-filtering filter, but other homeowners are fine with a more affordable standard filter.
The most common filter required for home HVAC systems are traditional fiberglass air filters. These are flat filters that are usually pleated, which is the superior design for best air filtration. These filters are assigned a MERV rating. This rating indicates how efficient it is at filtering out dirt and debris.
AIR FILTERS 101: WHAT DOES MERV MEAN?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings typically go from 1 to 16. The higher the number, the more efficient it is – which means the better it stops small particles from getting through to the air you breathe. Most air filters used in homes have MERV ratings between 1 and 4. Typically these lower-rated filters can remove such particles as:
- Dust mites
- Textile and carpet fibers
- Sanding dust
MERV RATINGS CHART: SMALL & HARMFUL PARTICLES IN YOUR HOME
There are smaller particles that do not get filtered out by those lower MERV rated filters. The size of these microscopic particles is measured in microns. Any sort of particle that is smaller than 10 microns can typically get through most home air filters with MERV ratings of 4 or lower.
Very small particles that are smaller than 10 microns include:
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
- Aerosol spray
People looking for filters that will block the most particles from their indoor air will want one with a MERV rating of 11 or 13. These higher-rated filters will likely cost more money but will be worth the additional cost with the benefits you receive from having much cleaner indoor air.
High MERV-rated air filters are especially important for homeowners who have the following situations:
- Have asthma or other respiratory problems
- Have pets
- Smoke, or live with a smoker (including vaping)
- Live in an area with high pollution levels
Anything above MERV 13 is likely not necessary for residential use. Those are extremely efficient filters and intended for facilities that have unique air quality needs, such as medical facilities.
HOW IS A FILTER’S MERV NUMBER DETERMINED?
How high the MERV rating is for an air filter is determined from a specific process called The Dust Spot Efficiency Test. This test measures how well the filter removes atmospheric dust particles from the air. Most good filters remove at least 90% of air particles.
RELATED FILTER PROBLEMS & AIR QUALITY FAQS
You can learn more about the importance and proper use of an air filter. Check out one of these helpful guides to troubleshoot common AC issues as well as how to prevent big problems from happening.
LET TOMMY COOL HELP YOU CLEAR YOUR AIR!
A good, clean air filter is the first step towards ensuring clean air inside your home. Indoor air pollution can be a major problem, so changing your filter regularly is essential. In addition to filters, there are many other great ways to improve your home’s air. Indoor air cleaners and air purifiers can be installed to work with your home’s existing HVAC system to eliminate a whole range of harmful microscopic particles.