A good filter that is right for your home will make a big difference and is an important step in having and keeping good indoor air quality.
The most effective ways to improve your indoor air are to reduce or remove the sources of pollutants and to ventilate with clean outdoor air in Park City, Kansas. Upgrading the air filter in your furnace or central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system can help to improve indoor air quality. It is important, though, to follow manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance and replacement, because the goal is to strike a balance between removing the most airborne contaminants while still maintaining adequate airflow.
PICK YOUR FILTER
There are four commonly used home air filter types:
- HEPA filters – typical MERV rating of 17-20
- Fiberglass filters – typical MERV rating of 1-4
- Polyester and pleated filters – typical MERV rating ranges for 4-12 depending on the style
- Washable air filters – typical MERV rating of 1-4
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH MERV?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a measure of the efficiency of the air filter (the amount of airborne pollutants it removes). In general, air filters with higher MERV ratings remove a higher percentage of airborne contaminants, therefore improving your home’s indoor air quality.
- 1-4 MERV – This is the lowest end of filters. They remove large airborne particles that could otherwise damage your heater or air conditioner, but they do little in the way of improving your indoor air quality. Due to the dusty air in our area, homeowners with these filters should replace them about once a month.
- 5-8 MERV – Air filters with MERV ratings of 5-8 last longer than their less expensive counterparts. Filters in this range are usually 1-2-inch pleated filters. They are used in both residential and commercial applications and they can improve your home’s indoor air quality by removing harmful contaminants such as mold spores, hairspray fumes, and smaller dust particles.
- 9-12 MERV – These filters are more efficient and usually offer the best indoor air quality improvement for residential applications. Deep pleated filters fall into this category. Because they work so well at removing airborne pollutants, they must be regularly checked to ensure proper airflow.
- 13-16 MERV – Filters in this category are used in hospitals and clean rooms, where airborne contaminants must be almost completely eliminated. These are not recommended for residential use as they restrict airflow and can damage your heating and cooling system.
What MERV rating you need will depend greatly on your heating and cooling system, your home’s size, and what MERV rating will be most effective without putting undue strain on your HVAC system in Park City, Kansas.
HEPA VS MERV
You probably noticed that the HEPA rating went off the MERV chart. There is a reason for this.
All HEPA filters have a rating of a MERV 17 or higher. A HEPA filter with a MERV 17 rating will trap 99.97% of air particles that are 0.3-1.0 micron in size and an even better percentage of particles below 0.3 microns and above (HEPA filters are rated at their worst performance). A HEPA filter’s proven ability to capture extremely small particles like viruses and bacteria is why they are used in hospital operating rooms.
The ‘M’ in MERV rating stands for ‘Minimum.’ As you can see, the HEPA filters surpass the most restrictive 0.3-1.0 micron particle size interval MERV rating is based upon. In other words: HEPA filters are better than anything MERV rating can measure. They are not ‘Minimum’ efficient. Because they go ‘off the MERV chart’, they are referred to as HEPA filters or high-efficiency filters.
But do you need a HEPA filter or a higher MERV rated filter?
In the U.S. the most popular and used filter is normally at a MERV 8 rating. A MERV 8 air filter is efficient at trapping a majority of indoor particulates and does not cause undue strain on your HVAC system or cause your energy bill to go up. Most higher rated MERV and HEPA filters are used in clean rooms, medical facilities, or labs because for a home they could be excessive. But there are different options available and it’s important to pick the right filter for your home and family.
Here are some things to consider before buying a home air filter:
- Selecting the right size
- Know the different types of home air filters that are compatible with your HVAC system
- Checking the MERV rating
- Knowing how often you should change your filter
- Remember that a higher MERV rating isn’t always better or necessary for your home
- Consulting your HVAC instruction manual or contacting a HVAC professional
A good filter that is right for your home will make a big difference and is an important step in having and keeping good indoor air quality in Park City, Kansas. There are other things that could be causing some indoor air quality issues, though. Perhaps the air ducts and vents have not been cleaned in a long time and could be contributing to the issue. If you have been experiencing some issues with the indoor air quality in your home, we can help. We provide services that include cleaning HVAC units, air ducts and vents, as well as conducting indoor air quality tests and inspections. Give us a call today to schedule the service you need!
“Professional, kind, and hard workers.”
— Cano A. in Wichita, Kansas