Apart from the suggested annual maintenance, did you know that one of the simplest ways to maintain your home AC system is to regularly replace your air filter?
Well the majority of you already knew that, but what factors do you use when changing your filter and just as essential, what factors do you use when investing in an air filter for your home air conditioning system?
In this quick tip, we'll discuss the various types of air filters for your home and some details you need to take into consideration when buying one.
An interesting fact is that according to the EPA, indoor air can be 2 to 5 times worse in air quality compared to outside air. (source: epa.gov) This may appear unexpected however when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The explanation for that is that your indoor air is re-circulated throughout your house. The only "filtration" this air gets is from your Muskego air conditioning system. And as you, your family, and your pets use your home the air quality becomes worse over time if it is not filtered efficiently.
Thankfully, in 1987 the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ashrae.org) created the MERV Rating system to rate the performance of air filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings range from 1-16 with a higher number corresponding to a higher percentage of particles that are trapped by the air filter.
Air filters with a low MERV rating will only trap large particles while filters with high MERV ratings will trap large, small, and also microscopic particles including bacteria and even odor.
There are 4 fundamental types of filters each with a various range of MERV ratings:
The first type which is typically made of fiberglass, spun glass, or polyester are designed more to secure your system instead of improving air quality of your house. The reason for this is that these filters have a low MERV rating and will only eliminate large particles coming from the air.
The second type is the pleated filter, which has a higher MERV rating and will remove both large and small particles from the air.
Third, is the pleated electrostatic filter. This is the best filter available and will remove large, small, and even microscopic particles from the air. The air filters with the highest MERV ratings will even remove tiny bacteria and even odors from your indoor air. These are especially good for individuals that suffer from allergies.
And finally, the washable air filters. When considering these you must remember that while they may last longer due to the ability to be washed and reused, they are generally not near as effective as pleated and pleated electrostatic air filters.
The EPA (epa.gov) suggests air filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 while the American Lung Association (lungusa.org) recommends air filters with a MERV of 10 or higher.
When shopping, use the MERV ratings to assist you in your purchase. Also when shopping you'll find that generally air filters with a higher MERV score will cost a little more than those with lower ratings. Having this in mind, always buy the highest MERV rating you can afford in the interest of protecting your Elkhornair conditioning system, maintaining clean indoor air, and protecting your family.