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What You Need to Know When Choosing an HVAC Air Filter

What You Need to Know When Choosing an HVAC Air FilterYour HVAC air filter is one of your best defenses against the Yuma area’s dust, pollen, and other air contaminants. Because not all filters are equally effective, it’s worth taking the time to find one that meets your needs.

Higher Quality Filters Mean Better Air Quality

Air filter efficiency is measured by a minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV. A higher MERV indicates a more efficient filter, meaning it can trap more particles of smaller sizes than less-efficient models. The least efficient models available have MERVs of 1 to 4; and, while they can trap large debris particles, they do little to clean your air. More efficient filters with MERV 5 to 8 ratings capture most mold spores and pollen, so they provide sufficiently clean air for most people.

If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, though, look for a MERV 11 or 12 filter, which cleans the air almost as effectively as a HEPA filter. Filters with a MERV higher than 12 are too dense for some heating and cooling systems and can interfere with airflow, so consult an HVAC technician before installing one.

Material and Design Make a Difference

How a filter is made tells you something about its efficiency. The least efficient filters are typically made from fiberglass. More efficient filters use synthetic or cotton-polyester material that leaves less space between the fibers, allowing them to trap smaller particles.

Less efficient filters are designed as flat panels. Higher-efficiency residential air filters have either flat panel or pleated designs. In a pleated filter, the material is folded into an accordion-like shape to fit in a greater surface area to trap particles.

Electrostatic filters, which use electrostatic attraction to trap particles, are also an option. However, these must be carefully maintained to prevent mold growth.

Because holder sizes vary, take your old filter with you when you go shopping for a replacement air filter to ensure you get the right size.

Need some help deciding which air filter is right for you? Contact us at
Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company in the Yuma area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Norbert Rehm/Shutterstock”