Air filters help improve indoor air quality and prevent the buildup of airborne particles within the HVAC system. Yet, they need to be changed regularly to work optimally. There are three main considerations when purchasing a new one—size, type, and rating. Each of these is dependent on the type of system used as well as your household preferences and needs. Here's a closer look at how to choose the right one.
The correct fit is crucial to achieving proper filtration. If the unit is too small, unfiltered air will penetrate through the system, distributing allergens and microorganisms throughout the home. A filter that's too large, on the other hand, won't properly sit in the filter housing, and forcing it could block airflow.
To find the right size, check the filter that's already in place. As long as it seems to fit securely, you can replace it with a model of the same size. If the current doesn't sit correctly, measure the compartment from top to bottom, followed by side to side, and then the thickness of the housing. These three numbers are the correct size of air filter needed.
Every filter is assigned a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) based on the level of filtration it provides. The rating system ranges from one to 16, with the latter having the ability to remove 75% or more of larger air particles between 0.3 and 10 microns. While higher-rated variations offer improved air quality, they also reduce airflow. To prevent your HVAC system from struggling, work with a heating and AC contractor to match the MERV rating to your fan strength.
There are three main styles of HVAC filter—fiberglass, electrostatic, and pleated. Fiberglass is the most basic option and often the most affordable. With the lowest MERV rating—between one and four—fiberglass works well for older systems that need high airflow. Pleated filters are usually in the mid-range—five to eight—which works for the average home.
The pleated category also includes HEPA filters, which surpass standard MERV ratings. HEPA filters have the ability to trap 99% of airborne particles—ideal for people with allergies or respiratory issues. Rated up to a MERV 10, electrostatic versions offer the best of both worlds by trapping particles with self-charging fibers, which doesn't damper airflow as drastically.
Find the right air filter for your needs with the help of Comfort Tech Heating and Air Conditioning in Thomasville, NC. For over 25 years, the local business has served the heating and cooling needs of residents across Davidson County. From hypoallergenic filter installation to preventive maintenance, the EPA-certified contractor is committed to improving indoor air quality. Visit their website for a full list of services and prices, and schedule your appointment today at (336) 472-5858.