Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

HVAC Air Filter Ratings 101

HVAC Air Filter Ratings 101 | HansbergerIf you want the best performance possible from your air conditioner this summer, look no further than the HVAC air filter you’re using. All forced-air HVAC systems use air filters to reduce the amount of dust that the blower brings into them. Dust and dirt harm mechanical systems, and your air conditioner is no exception.

Ratings Defined

The HVAC industry has simplified how you choose filters by establishing ratings that describe the minimum size of the airborne particulates they can trap. The MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) ratings run from 1 to 16 for residential air filters. Higher rated filters trap smaller particles. Some manufacturers don’t provide a MERV rating for a filter. Instead, they use terms like “good,” “better,” and “best.”

Choosing Filters

The filter you use for your system impacts its performance and your indoor air quality (IAQ). Those inexpensive flat panel fiberglass filters are the least effective and have MERV ratings from 1 to 4. Pleated filters cost more, but trap smaller particles. They also have more surface area and may not need changing as frequently. Their ratings range from 5 to 16. This range improves IAQ and prevents smaller particulates from entering your air handler and the ductwork.

Before you upgrade the HVAC air filter, check your owner’s manual or ask your HVAC contractor. Using a filter that’s too dense slows the air flowing through the air handler that increases energy bills and harms your system.

Reusable filters are available, but mold can grow on them, and their MERV ratings are 4 or lower. They have to dry thoroughly before putting them back, and running the A/C without a filter can harm it.

Changing Filters

How often you change the filter depends on the amount of particulates your home has. Pets and carpeting increase the particulate load. As much as your A/C runs in the summer, it’s a good idea to check the filter monthly.

The HVAC air filter is an important component of your cooling system. If you’d like more information, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. We provide trusted HVAC services for Yuma homeowners.

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 HVAC air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.

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