Trying to select the right air filter for your Grand Island home can be a daunting experience. What’s the best one? Does the price reflect the quality? These are just some of the questions that make selecting home air filters so mind-boggling. Let McElroy Service Experts crack the code of home air filters for you, so you can feel comfortable with your purchase.
Here’s a tried and true way to tell how efficient your existing filter is (NOTE: Spare yourself a huge mess by conducting this experiment outside or with something below the filter to help keep things clear): Set the filter horizontally, then with everyday table salt, begin to pour the salt through the filter to see the quantity that comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can assume that the filter will let dust pass through as well. You really should upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient.
There are 3 primary considerations when choosing a household air filter; Size, Material and MERV rating.
1) Filter Size
Size is the easiest factor to ascertain. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. Typically home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a variety of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.
2) Material & MERV Rating
Filter efficiencies are given a number from 1-16 called the MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number informs the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to capture contaminants.
To explain MERV ratings more impactfully, these are some common MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so don’t forget to read the filter manufacturers’ information when buying specific filters.
Rating Average Filtration Efficiency
MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)
MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube
MERV 9-12 >95%
MERV 13-16 >98%
Be Careful About High MERV Ratings
While a higher MERV number may ensure better filtration efficiency, it is extremely important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also cost you more to operate your furnace and AC system. The higher the MERV, the more restricted the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your aim is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Look at it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would probably be a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Grand Island home. That's maximum air filtration, but would also be the least comfortable way to go.
The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used based upon the advice of your McElroy Service Experts representative to confirm your system has the capability of moving the suitable quantity of air through higher efficiency filters. You generally do not want to lose energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems and needs a high MERV air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will meet your energy and filter efficiency needs.
Filtration has changed greatly over the past few years. In the beginning, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to safeguard the comfort equipment itself. Today it’s a whole new ballgame. Grand Island area homeowners expect their air filter to save children from a whole host of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!