Trying to select the right air filter for your Sharonville home can be a daunting experience. What does my system require? Does the price reflect the quality? These are just some of the questions that make the selection mind-boggling. Let Knochelmann 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 current filter is (NOTE: Do this outdoors or with something below the filter so you don’t end up with a mess): Hold the filter horizontally, then with everyday table salt, begin to pour the salt through the filter then 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 particles of similar size pass through. You really should upgrade your filter to higher quality filter that is more efficient.
Home air filter selection depends primarily on three factors: 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 height by width and thickness, or just measure it yourself. The majority of home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a number 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 tells the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to trap contaminants.
As a basic example, these are some common MERV ratings and how they connect 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 offer better filtration efficiency, it is very important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also cost you more to operate your HVAC system. The higher the MERV, the more difficult the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your goal is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Consider it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would actually be a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from getting into your Sharonville home. That's definitely the “best” air filtration, but would also be a terrible way to live.
Your best bet for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used subject to the advice of your Knochelmann Service Experts technician to ensure your system has the capability of moving the proper volume of air through higher efficiency filters. You generally do not want to give up energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems and the situation necessitates a high MERV rated 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 several years. Early on, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to shelter the comfort equipment itself. Today it’s a whole new ballgame. Sharonville area homeowners expect their air filter to save children from a wide variety of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!