The quick and easy answer to your question is to check with the owner’s manual that came with your HVAC system and see the recommendation there. However, many people no longer have the original paperwork. Or, the recommendation may be dated and you would like to use a more efficient, effective filter.
Whatever your reason for needing to know what kind of filter you need for your HVAC system, the skilled technicians at Ambient Edge have the answers. One call to (888) 628-5890 and we can take care of all your HVAC needs. From questions about your HVAC filter to heating or air conditioning emergencies, we’re your reliable first call.
HVAC Filter Facts
Furnace filter, air conditioning filter, HVAC filter — no matter what you call it, it’s all the same filter. There are, however, many different types of HVAC filters.
Changing your filter on a regular basis is one of the most important ways of protecting your indoor air quality. Before contaminated air blows through your home, the air filter traps dust, pollen, other allergens, debris, and more. A dirty air filter also forces your HVAC system to work a lot harder, which can mean more frequent repairs and even make the system burn out more quickly.
Look at the MERV Rating
MERV means Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values. It was created as part of a test developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers and helps make comparing different types of HVAC filters easier. The higher a filter’s MERV rating, the more effectively it will trap different kinds of particles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can remove more than 99% of mold, bacteria, dust, pollen, and tiny airborne particles. HEPA filters are often recommended for people with asthma, cardiopulmonary issues, lung problems, and severe allergies.
While you may think purchasing the filter with the highest MERV rating is a no-brainer, if it is more than what is recommended by the manufacturer of your HVAC system model, your system may need to work a lot harder to pass air through the more restrictive material. That could cause damage to your system or make it burn out.
If you’re unsure about the proper MERV rating for your particular HVAC model, contact us and we can help you determine the right fit for your home and your system.
Different Types of HVAC Filters
There are many different kinds of HVAC filters on the market today and so many choices can be confusing. Fortunately, our experienced technicians are here to help.
Pleated Air Filter
A pleated surface area is more efficient and traps more particles than a filter that is not pleated. These filters are made from cotton fibers and can trap everything from mold and bacteria to smoke, lint, and dust. The MERV rating on pleated filters ranges from five to 12 and, depending on the brand, can cost anywhere from $20 to $60.
Washable Air Filters
Made of a synthetic, washable material, these HVAC filters are designed to be washed once per month so they can last up to one year. With a MERV rating of between one and four, washable filters don’t filter out as much as some other options, but they are more environmentally friendly and cost effective. Typically, washable HVAC filters are less than $10 each.
Fiberglass Air Filters
Probably the most common type of HVAC filter, fiberglass filters filter out basic pollutants and allergens such as fibers, dust, pollen, and dust mites, but don’t provide robust air quality protection. They also need to be changed on a monthly basis. However, they are cost-effective, starting at about $1 per filter. The MERV rating is usually three to four.
HVAC filters with MERV ratings of 16 and higher are typically only for hospitals, labs, and specialized facilities required to have ultra-clean air. Most residential HVAC filters top out at a MERV rating of 13.
HVAC filters with a MERV rating of 13 are typically pleated filters. They capture particles less than one micron in size including dust, animal dander, pollen, allergens, mold, smoke, bacteria, and even some viruses. On the lower end, these filters typically start at $20 and the price goes up from there.
HVAC Filter Tips
No matter what type of HVAC filter you choose, be sure you’ve got the correct filter size. There is no one standard size for HVAC filters, it varies by manufacturer and even model. Before ordering a new HVAC filter, take out the old filter and make careful note of its size. Many people even write the correct filter size in permanent marker on the outside of the HVAC unit in an inconspicuous place. This makes it easy to remember and order the correct size.
Be sure the air filter is facing in the correct direction as well. Air flows from your return ducting to the main HVAC system unit. The arrow on your new HVAC filter should point in the direction that your air is flowing.
Call Today for an HVAC Evaluation
If your HVAC system is new to you and you have questions about your filter, call (888) 628-5890 and we may be able to give you a simple answer. The knowledgeable technicians at Ambient Edge can also do an HVAC check-up to ensure your system is in good order. We also provide 24-hour emergency service, when necessary. And we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.