Changing your furnace filter regularly is one of the most effective, yet least expensive ways to keep your heating system working properly while ensuring better indoor air quality. A furnace with a clean filter is much less likely to circulate dust, pet dander, pollen and other undesirable airborne particulates. You can avoid problems down the road by choosing the right furnace filter for your heating and cooling system and changing or cleaning it regularly.
Understanding MERV Ratings
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating is the industry standard for HVAC filters. Filters are issued a rating between 1 (the lowest efficiency) and 20.
For most homeowners, a filter with a MERV rating of 5-8 is sufficient. However, individuals with allergies and respiratory issues, or homes with particular air quality challenges, may do better with a filter with a rating of 9-12. If you go higher than that, such as with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, you may need system modifications to work with the denser filter.
Types of Furnace Filters
- Disposable flat-panel fiberglass (MERV 1-4): Although this type is the cheapest, it’s also the least effective. While it will protect system components from the largest dust particles, this basic filter does little to improve indoor air quality.
- Disposable pleated: With an average MERV rating of 6, pleated filters will do a better job of cleaning the air than the basic flat-panel filter. They improve air quality while not unnecessarily impeding system airflow, which is an issue with furnace filters as they climb the MERV ladder.
- Disposable electrostatic: Those with allergies or pets would do well to choose this filter. With an average MERV rating of 10, it’s a good value.
- Permanent electrostatic: Featuring a washable filter, this can be reused for up to eight years if maintained properly. The MERV rating is a little lower than disposable electrostatic (8 instead of 10), and it’s fairly costly.
- Higher-efficiency filters – MERV 13-20, as mentioned, are very good at removing even small particulates from your home’s airstream, but they do tend to impede airflow, and likely will require modifications to your equipment. Consult with a trusted HVAC technician before opting for one of these furnace filters.
For all your Kansas City area home heating and cooling needs, contact the friendly team at Overland Park Heating & Cooling, Inc. We’ve been keeping KC homes clean and comfortable since 1983.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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