HVAC equipment is a major investment in your family’s comfort. An air filter for your system is extremely inexpensive by comparison. The health of your family and your HVAC system, however, depend on that filter. A good quality air filter is key to better breathing for your family and better efficiency for your HVAC equipment.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a numerical scale that gives you a sense of how thoroughly an air filter mechanically blocks particulates in your Portland home. The higher the number, the more effective the filter. Clean rooms for high technology and pharmaceutical manufacturing, for example, use filters rated MERV 19 and 20. The cheapest disposable filter for home use may have a MERV rating between one and three.
Air Filter Choices
Air filters come in a wide range of materials at many price levels. The four most popular types:
- Washable filters—Generally made from aluminum mesh and intended to be rinsed off monthly, these have low MERV ratings between one and four, and may actually encourage biological growths such as fungi, bacteria and spores.
- Fiberglass air filters—These are the inexpensive, disposable filters you can find in big-box improvement stores, and also in discount stores and even the pharmacy. They do nothing to improve indoor air quality and are designed to prevent particulate damage to your HVAC system. They are rated MERV two to three, removing only about 10 percent of a home’s pollutants.
- Pleated filters—At MERV ratings between eight and 13, these filter out up to 45 percent of your Portland home’s indoor particulate pollution. The pleats increase surface area, and higher quality fibers—cotton and polyester instead of fiberglass—provide superior mechanical filtration.
- High-efficiency air filters—Coming in at MERV ratings between 14 and 16, these HVAC filters remove up to 85 percent of particulates, pollutants and allergens from your home’s air. They are generally very thick, and need professional installation in your HVAC ductwork, as they can affect airflow rate.
For more guidance on selecting the best air filter for your home’s HVAC system, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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