Understanding Air Filter Ratings

Understanding Air Filter Ratings - hand placing AC filter

When it comes to heating and cooling your home, having the right air filter is essential. With so many different filtration options available on the market, it can be confusing to find the one that meets your needs. Taking the time to understand air filter ratings will help when choosing a filter for your HVAC system.

Filtration is a critical part of any HVAC system as it helps trap suspended particles in the air. The right filter will help to minimize dust and allergens and can also help prevent system breakdown and damage. 

Air filters are part of a regular HVAC maintenance plan and choosing the right one will not only improve the air quality in your home but can also save you money. Let’s take a look at what air filtration ratings mean and how you can choose the right one based on the type of system you have.

Particulate Matter Filtration Basics

The size of particulate matter is measured in the metric unit of microns. To put this in perspective, a particle of sand is about 90 microns in diameter, while dust and pollen are about 10 microns in diameter. Knowing the micron size of common particulate matter can help you choose the right air filter for your system. 

One good example is a home with pets. If you have a cat or dog or other furry pet in your home, chances are there will be larger particles in the air. Furry pets shed and release what is called pet dander, which can cause mild, moderate, or severe allergies for some people. A filter rated to trap pet dander effectively not only can improve indoor air quality but also may lessen the chances of allergic reactions for residents and guests. Homes without pets may need less powerful micron filtration to trap common particulate matter like dust.

MERV Filtration Ratings: What You Need to Know

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the right filtration can improve indoor air quality. As recommended by ASHRAE, MERV filtration ratings help consumers determine the right filter for their HVAC system.

So, what exactly is MERV filtration? These filters use a value system based on the effectiveness of each filter to trap particulate matter. To make filtration selection easier for consumers, MERV ratings vary from 1 to 20.  Lower MERV ratings are typically found in residential or small office settings, whereas higher ratings from 16 to 20 can be found in environments like nuclear facilities and hospitals. A higher MERV rating indicates a higher more comprehensive level of filtration whereas a lower MERV rating means that some finer particles may not be trapped by the filtration system.

Keep in mind that the higher the MERV rating, the more often the filter will need to be replaced.  For instance, filters rated 10 to 12 will need to be changed at least quarterly. 

Get an Expert Opinion 

Choosing the right filter for your home or business can be a challenge and the air filter ratings can be confusing. If you’d like to have expert advice, you can consult a qualified HVAC company who will send a certified technician to evaluate your system and make professional filtration recommendations. 

Forney Air offers emergency maintenance services and stellar customer service. If you need assistance with the care and maintenance of your HVAC system, contact the experts at Forney Air today. 

Call us at (214) 924-9745 or contact us online.

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