Air Filters: What You Need to Know as a Homeowner
Many people do not change the air filter in their home as much as they are supposed to. Others may not have the best type of air filter for their home environment. You may not realize it, but your air filter plays an important role in maintaining indoor air quality, so it’s important to become well-acquainted with your air filter to ensure that you and your family are breathing the cleanest air possible.
How are air filters rated?
Did you know that air filters have ratings? Mechanical air filters are the most common type used in home HVAC units. The effectiveness of these air filters is measured in Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV ratings. The less effective the air filter, the lower the MERV rating is. Many inexpensive air filters will have a lower MERV rating, meaning that homeowners should not just buy the cheapest air filter on the market if they want to improve indoor air quality.
Which type of air filter do I need?
There are a variety of air filters to choose from that offer many benefits as well as some drawbacks. The key to finding the right air filter for your home is getting to know how each air filter works. Here are just a few of the air filter options homeowners have to choose from:
- Flat-Paneled Fiberglass Air Filters – These inexpensive air filters are made of layered fiberglass fibers with a grating to reinforce the materials. Flat-paneled fiberglass air filters are mostly used to protect the components of your HVAC system and not for cleaning the air. Their MERV rating is between 1 and 4.
- Pleated Air Filters – These disposable, pleated polyester filters are efficient at capturing airborne particles with a medium efficiency rating. Pleated air filters can filter small to large particles, removing up to 45% of their air pollutants from the home. These filters often have a MERV rating between 10 and 13.
- High-Efficiency Air Filters – These filters are one of the most practical options for homeowners with a MERV rating between 14 and 16. High-efficiency air filters remove up to 85% of air pollutants from the home while also promoting optimal HVAC performance and lessening operating costs over time.
- True High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters – HEPA filters are the ultimate when it comes to indoor air quality control. They use a fine filter to catch 99.97 percent of all particles. Most residential HVAC units are not equipped to handle an in-unit HEPA filter, so homeowners need to have an HVAC tech make adjustments to their existing system or purchase a stand-alone unit.
Not sure which air filter is right for you? We would be happy to discuss your options with you and recommend the right air filter for your home environment.
How often should I change my air filter?
The frequency of air filter changes will depend on the type of air filter that you have. Typically, homeowners should replace their disposable air filter or clean their reusable filter once a month. However, if you notice that your air filter is dirty or clogged then it’s time to change it. A clogged air filter can restrict air flow in your home, which can cause wear and tear to your HVAC system.
If you have a question about the right air filter for you, Blue Mountain Construction Services is only a phone call away. Contact us to learn more about your air filter options and to find the best fit for your home HVAC system.