MERV Ratings: What to Know When You Shop For Air Filter Replacements
Changing your air filter regularly is essential for keeping your system clean and operational. This applies whether you have a heat pump, air conditioner, furnace or a combination of systems. A common cause of HVAC problems is a dirty air filter, which can lead to system failure. You can easily prevent this by keeping up with filter changes.
If it’s been more than a few months since you change your filter, we can help you with your new purchase by navigating the meaning of MERV ratings.
The Purpose of Your HVAC Air Filter
There are two main purposes of an HVAC air filter. The first is to prevent your system from accumulating dust. Dust can overheat your system and cause damage, which then leads to costly repairs. The second is to improve your home’s indoor air quality [Link to: https://www.groggs.com/indoor-air-quality/ Title Tag: Indoor Air Quality in Parkersburg, Clarksburg & the Surrounding Areas]. Pollen, mold, dust mites and other microscopic particles float around in your home’s air, no matter how much cleaning you do. An air filter will trap those contaminants and help you breathe easier.
How Often to Change Your Air Filter
How often you need to change your air filter is dependent on several things. It could need to be changed every month, two months or three months. There are further factors that might influence this, including:
- The type of filter you’re using - If you have a basic air filter that is about 1-3 inches, you should change them about every 30-60 days.
- The number of people who live in your home - For remote areas or less occupied homes, an annual change might be sufficient.
- Any construction going on around the home
- Allergies - Changing the air filter more often or even upgrading your filter is advisable for occupants who have allergies.
The average suburban home without pets needs a filter change every 90 days. Add a dog or a cat, and that number goes down to 60. You should look at a monthly change if there are pets and one or more of the home’s occupants has allergies.
Air Filter Choices: MERV Ratings
The ratings of air filters range from 1 - 20. The higher the rating, the higher the quality. Here is a quick guide to the meaning of the numbers:
- MERV 1-4 - These flat filters capture very few airborne particles, only trapping ones larger than 10 microns, which includes dust mites, carpet fibers and pollen.
- MERV 5-8 - Most homes require only these filters. The filters trap particles down to 3 microns, such as animal dander, dust mite droppings and mold spores.
- MERV 9-12 - These filters are almost as effective as HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) filters, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. They are ideal for those will allergies, asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions. They can trap very fine particles down to one micron, including humidifier dust and Legionella.
- MERV 13-20 - A filter with a rating above 12 is not going to fit the average residential HVAC system. Grogg’s installs these superior systems 90% of the time when a new system is purchased.
The Air Cleaning/Airflow Balance
Just like a dirty filter can obstruct airflow, so can an overly dense clean filter. You should check to see if your system can handle higher efficiency filters before making an upgrade by getting in touch with one of our HVAC technicians during a preventative HVAC maintenance [Link to: https://www.groggs.com/comfort-club/ Title Tag: HVAC Maintenance in Parkersburg, Clarksburg & the Surrounding Areas] visit.
How to Replace Your Air Filter
Keep a plastic bag handy to dispose of your old, dirty filter. Open the compartment door and replace the old one with the new one, arrows pointing in the direction of airflow (toward the main unit). You might be able to follow the arrows on your old filter.
Want more help for choosing the best air filter for your Parkersburg or Clarksburg area home? Please get in touch with Grogg’s Home Services!