Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Good or Great Air Filter? How Do You Choose?

Whether your realize it or not, your HVAC unit contains a single air filter that helps to remove dirt and debris from being pumped through your ducts and out into the air your breathe. In fact, you should be changing yours once per month. If you don’t, dirty air filters in HVAC systems can actually cause your system to work harder, costing you more money and potentially resulting in the need for repair service sooner. Use these tips to help you choose the right air filters for your home HVAC system.

  • Ask about the MERV, minimum efficiency rating value, of air filters before buying. Most air filters for your HVAC system will have the MERV rating number on the packaging. MERV ratings are between 1 on the low side and 16 on the high side.
  • Avoid washable air filters. Washable air filters tend to have a MERV rating between 1 and 4 and require regular maintenance. That means they don’t filter much and require a lot of upkeep.
  • Skip fiberglass filters whenever possible. Fiberglass air filters typically have a MERV rating between 1 and 4 too.
  • Look for high-efficiency air filters that have a MERV rating between 14 and 16. These tend to trap about 85% of air pollutants. High-efficiency filters tend to cost the most, but do a much better job of cleaning the air.
  • Choose polyester and pleated air filters if you can’t find high-efficiency ones. They usually have a MERV rating of 8 to 13.
  • Get a recommendation from a professional during a regular maintenance call. You should be having your HVAC system checked at least once per year anyway, so asking what type of filter is best for your HVAC system can save you a lot of guesswork. Your service provider will also be able to change your filter for you that first time and during subsequent service calls as well.

Contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air, Inc. for more information on choosing a quality air filter for your HVAC system. We can also help you with all of your heating, cooling and air quality-related needs.