Understanding Air Filters – What They Do and How to Pick the Right One

Understanding Air Filters - What They Do and How to Pick the Right One

An essential but frequently ignored part of the HVAC system in your house is the air filter in the furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.

Air filters have a significant impact on several important aspects of interior convenience and HVAC equipment efficiency; even though they may just appear to be enormous cardboard boxes packed with fibers or pleated material.

Here is a quick overview of air filters and why these ostensibly unimportant parts are so important to the heating and cooling systems in your house.

Why Air Filters Are Important

The most common materials used to create air filters are spun fiberglass, pleated paper or cloth, as well as a cardboard frame. Its primary job is to keep the air flowing through your heating as well as cooling system clean.

Filters capture and retain a wide variety of particles and pollutants, including:

  •       Filth and dust
  •       Pollen
  •       Mold and mold spores
  •       Lint and fibers
  •       Metal, plaster, or wood fragments
  •       Hair and fur from animals
  •       Microbes and bacteria

Filtration often takes place when used air is returned to the HVAC system to be conditioned as well as redistributed. Filter material eliminates particles and other pollutants from the air as it is driven through it.

The efficiency of Filters and MERV Ratings

The efficiency with which different air filters can purify your home air varies. The cost of higher-quality filters will be offset by their capacity to purge your home’s air of more impurities.

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The lowest efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, of the filters frequently indicates the efficiency as well as the performance of the filter. A filter’s ability to remove particles from the air is indicated by its standard MERV value, which ranges from 1 to 16. Better filtering is indicated by higher MERV values.

  •       MERV 1-4: These are typical standard filters that offer a minimal level of filtration at a reasonable price.
  •       MERV 6-8: These filter offer good filtration and are frequently used in home settings. To provide more surfaces for collecting particles, they are frequently made of paper or cloth that has been pleated.
  •       MERV 9–12: These midrange filters, which can collect particles as fine as one micron in size, are of a rather high caliber.
  •       MERV 13-16: The top standard filters are those with a MERV rating of 13 to 16. They can eliminate particles as fine as 0.3 microns. You can find a 20x20x4 air filter with MERV 8, 11, or 13 at reasonable pricing and get the best results.

There are further filters and filtering systems with MERV ratings above 16. These filters are incredibly efficient, but they can obstruct airflow in your home’s HVAC systems because they are thick and dense.

By limiting airflow, high-MERV filters can decrease the efficiency of your heating as well as cooling system and even harm your HVAC system. Before installing one, be sure your heating or cooling system can deal with the higher MERV filters.

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Additionally, you have the option of installing individual air filtration and purification systems alongside your HVAC system. The use of top-notch filters by these air purifiers also results in improved air cleansing.

If you’re unsure whether an air filtration system is the best choice for you, check with your neighborhood, reputable HVAC service provider.


As a result of its ability to both cool and heat your home, air filters rank among the most crucial elements in a house. To receive the highest quality and consistently maintain your home clean, you must select the appropriate size.


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