Air Filter Basics for Top Performance All Year Long

Your HVAC unit’s air filter plays an important part in keeping the air you breathe clean and healthy. Taking care of it means getting the most from your heating and cooling system while keeping a slew of airborne contaminants at bay. Not only will you enjoy cleaner air and a better performing HVAC system, you’ll save money on annual energy costs too.

When it comes to finding the best air filter, taking a look at its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating helps tell the story. MERV ratings for the average air filter range from 1 (the least efficient) to 16 (the most efficient), with top-rated filters capable of removing extraordinarily small airborne particles. Most residential HVAC units recommend air filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 11, while filters with a MERV rating between 12 and 13 are able to trap more airborne pollutants than lower-rated filters.

Nevertheless, MERV ratings are not the only consideration when it comes to air filters – size also matters. Without a snug fit, the filter won’t be able to operate efficiently. When replacing your filter, make sure the length, width and height of the replacement matches the original.

How often you need to replace your air filter is dictated by the type of air filter you’re using, your home’s overall air quality, and whether you have pets in your home. As a given, one-inch to three-inch air filters should be changed every 60 to 90 days. Some larger filters work efficiently for up to 12 months before they need changing.

Keep in mind that some HVAC systems can use true HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filters in lieu of a MERV-rated filter. These filters excel in removing airborne pollutants but offer very restricted airflow when used outside of recommended applications.  This restricted air flow can potentially damage some types of HVAC equipment and/or reduce efficiency which would result in higher energy bills. It’s best to consult your contractor if you think your home is in need of HEPA filtration.

Whenever you need help finding an air filter for your HVAC system, don’t hesitate to contact us at Aladdin Heating & Cooling. We offer the best in heating and cooling service to residents of Grosse Pointe, Sterling Heights, West Bloomfield and Clarkston.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Detroit, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about Air Filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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