How to Select the Right Air Filter

Almost every centralized heating and air conditioning system comes with a filter, designed to strain out the dust and dirt circulating through your home. There are numerous different types of filters you can install in your home – above and beyond the types specific to your particular air conditioning system – and with dust and pollen counts here in Portland, OR, they should probably be cleaned or replaced several times a year.  Selecting the right air filter is very important as a homeowner: something that can do the best possible job without working against your best interests. Here’s a few tips on how to select the right air filter.

MERV Rating

The best way to determine a filter’s effectiveness is to check its MERV rating, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the MERV number, the tighter the weave of the filter and the more effective it is at straining particles from the air. Filters have a MERV rating from 1 to 20, which makes for a fairly easy scale.

You Can’t Go Too High

“Great,” you think. “I’ll just head out and get a filter with a MERV rating of 20 and…” Not so fast. Once you get above a MERV rating of 12, the filters become counter-productive: reducing the flow of air through your system and forcing your air conditioner to work harder to meet its goals. Indeed, filters that strong are generally used for industrial purposes and have no place in a residential home. Instead, ask yourself how much protection you need, then select a MERV filter that matches it. For example, if you own a lot of pets, you may want a higher MERV filter to better strain their dander, and if germs or bacteria are a concern, then a higher MERV value can help put a cap on them.

For more on quality air filters and the best options for you, give the folks at Clean Air Act, Inc. a call!


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