Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Do You Know the Right Type of Furnace Filter for Better Indoor Air Quality?

Particles that could be floating around in the breathing air of your Yuma are home are generally made up of dust, dirt, dander, pollen, lint, mold spores, bacteria, mites and more. Your furnace filter, which likely doubles as your air conditioning filter, has the responsibility of trapping these particles as air is drawn through the filter. Ideally, this will prevent these particles from being reintroduced into your living area during the heating or cooling cycle. In order to do this effectively, however, your furnace filter must be of adequate quality, be properly fitted, and be replaced or cleaned when it becomes dirty.Do You Know the Right Type of Furnace Filter for Better Indoor Air Quality?

Airborne particulate size is measured in microns. For a comparison, a human hair is approximately 70 microns in diameter. Furnace filter efficiency is also measured in microns. Specifically, filters are rated on the MERV scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) from 1-20, with each higher number indicating the ability of the filter to trap increasingly smaller particles. The minimum-sized particles that different MERV-rated filters can trap include:

  • MERV 1-4  – particles greater than 10 microns
  • MERV 5-8  – particles between 3.0 – 10.0 microns
  • MERV 9-12 – particles between 1.0 – 3.0 microns
  • MERV 13-16 – particles between 0.3 – 1.0 microns

Filters with MERV ratings of 17-20, known as HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, can trap particulates down to 0.3 microns and smaller. These exceptionally efficient filters are typically not recommended for residential use because their fine filtration results in a significant reduction in airflow, which residential equipment isn’t designed to handle. HEPA furnace filters are usually found only in commercial or industrial HVAC equipment. MERV 13-16 filter may present some of the same issues, though systems can be modified to work with them if a home has special air quality concerns.

For the best balance in filter cost, filtering efficiency and acceptable airflow, many experts recommend homeowners use filters rated between MERV 9 and 12. Filters within this efficiency range can typically trap most airborne particles in a home and are considered to provide superior residential filtration.

For more than half a century, Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Co. has been family owned and operated, a mainstay in the Yuma area and a top provider of HVAC and other indoor air quality services. Contact us for information regarding your best furnace filter options.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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