What Kind Of Air Filter Do I Need In 2021?
Standard filters still work fine in your HVAC system. But, people are more concerned with indoor air quality and energy efficiency in 2021 than ever before. You can improve one or both by changing or upgrading the filter you use. There are plenty of options depending on what’s most important to you.
But, how do you know which filter is right for you?
Fortunately, filters are inexpensive. And, they’re all easy to remove and install as the standard models. So, you can experiment with different ones to find the best one for you. There are a few potential issues to watch for, and we’ll identify them along the way.
Finally, remember that you should change your filter at least every three months. Or more often if you have pets or during the months you’re using the heater or AC. The good news is that it gives you plenty of opportunities to try different products.
In this article, we’ll review:
- MERV Ratings And What They Mean
- Washable Vs. Disposable Air Filters
- Filters For Allergies And Odors
- Improving Indoor Air Quality
- AC And Heater Service In Manchester, PA
And, if you have any questions about the system in your South Central Pennsylvania home, call or email us here at Air Comfort Technologies. We’re happy to help!
MERV Ratings And What They Mean
MERV ratings tell you what kinds of particles your air filter, or screen, will trap. It’s based on size: The higher the ratings, the smaller particles the screen catches.
Sometimes, this gets a little confusing because big box stores make up their own ratings. But, MERV is a universal measure, and you can always find the comparable MERV rating to a retail-specific number.
Your standard one-inch-wide filter is anywhere from MERV one through eight. The lower-rated ones trap dust particles, dust mites, and carpet or textile fibers. As you get closer to eight, you’ll also start blocking pollen and mold spores.
MERV nine through 12 filters are the best you can get for residential use. Along with everything else, you’ll catch smaller mold spires as well as Legionella and other larger bacteria. But, you can’t go higher than that at home. Otherwise, the filter is too strong, and it will prevent proper air circulation through your system.
If you go past MERV 8, check your furnace’s manual or call your HVAC contractor to see how strong a screen your system can use. You don’t want to overwork the blower motor because that will result in a breakdown.
Washable Vs. Disposable Air Filters
A note for environmentally-conscious homeowners: You can also buy washable air filters instead of the usual disposable ones. This way, you’re not tossing a screen in the trash every few months.
However, there’s a downside: the reusable models don’t come in versions as strong as you can get with the disposable ones. If you don’t have any significant indoor air quality problems and you’ve been using a standard one-inch pleated filter, then you can try making the switch.
But, if you want to upgrade your filtration to address pollen and other allergens, then a washable one may not be a good choice.
Filters For Allergies And Odors
If you or someone in your home suffers from seasonal allergies, the right air filter can help! In the summer, any pollen you drag into the house stays there. When the windows are closed, there’s no way to flush it out. Unless, of course, you trap it in your air filter.
Look for MERV ratings 8 through 12 to capture as much pollen as possible. It also helps to wipe down surfaces — including windowsills and tops of door frames — with a damp cloth at least once a week to get rid of buildup.
For odors or VOCs, you can look into activated charcoal air filters. These also trap fumes and odors.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
Upgrading your air filter can help improve your indoor air quality. But, to really make a difference, you may have to go beyond just the screen you put in your furnace. That’s because, as we’ve seen, you can’t go higher than MERV 12 with a residential system.
However, the screens with MERV ratings 13 through 20 won’t work in a residential system — at least, not on their own.
To get protection from a screen that strong, you can upgrade to a whole-house air purifier. These systems come with their own blower motor so that they can use a higher-rated screen. Most also use UV light or other strategies to eradicate bacteria and virus particles.
AC And Heater Service In Manchester, PA
If you have any questions about the filter in your HVAC system, or if the AC or heater in your Manchester, PA home (or anywhere in South Central PA) is ready for service, call us here at Air Comfort Technologies. We’re happy to help out and keep your system running well.