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Air Filters 101

Air Filters 101

The Nitty Gritty: Your HVAC System’s Air Filters

If you don’t know much about your air filters, we get it. It is easy to set up your HVAC system and forget about it until it starts making some funny sounds, but learning more about your air filters can help save you money.

What Particles Do Your Air Filters Catch?

Air filters will often catch your everyday dust and dirt particles to keep you breathing healthy indoors. On top of the usual dust, your air filters can hold pollen, mold spores, hair from your family or pets, and various kinds of bacteria.

The MERV Rating System

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which in simpler terms are the values attached to air filters that reflect how efficient the filter is at trapping certain particles. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the air filter is at trapping small particles measured in the unit microns.

  • MERV 1-4: These filters can be used in your home, offering essential filtration of pollen, dust, and small particles like carpet or clothing fibers. These filters are best for particles as small as 10 microns.
  • MERV 5-8: A more resilient filter that will trap the particles listed above and lint and even mold spores. Any particle between 3 and 10 microns will get trapped in these filters.
  • MERV 9-12: Higher quality filters that can trap all previous allergens in addition to particles like a humidifier and lead dust, as well as fossil fuel emissions from vehicles. Particles as small as 1 to 3 microns will get filtered.
  • MERV 13-16: In addition to everything prior, this filter will trap bacteria, tobacco smoke, respiratory droplets, and any particles as small as 0.3 microns.

While you can buy higher-rated MERV filters, you should call our professionals at (954) 228-5965 to see which filter is best for your HVAC system. While it can be tempting to install higher MERV-rated filters, do note that some higher-rated filters can put additional strain on HVAC systems.

Types Of Air Filters

While there are many kinds of air filters you can purchase, we will cover some of the more common options you will find for most home HVAC needs.

Fiberglass Air Filters

The most common air filters on the market are fiberglass air filters since they are disposable, low cost, and get the job done. Most fiberglass filters have a MERV rating between 1-4.

High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters

While disposable air filters can be helpful for many, if you know you suffer from respiratory conditions that can get aggravated by allergens, then a HEPA filter is possibly one of the best filters you can get for your home. Most HEPA filters have a MERV rating of around 17.

Pleated Air Filters

Pleated filters are typically made of polyester, cotton, or paper and are distinguishable because of their folded appearance. Most pleated filters will have a MERV rating above 5.

Ultraviolet Light Filters

UV air filters are interesting because they use UV light to help kill viruses and bacteria traveling through your HVAC system. Depending on the filter’s MERV rating, some UV filters will not be as efficient in trapping allergens as a pleated air filter, but it is highly effective in killing bacteria or pollutants like mold. UV air filters are a great choice to improve your home’s indoor air quality.


Regardless of which filter you choose, always make sure to routinely clean or replace your filters to ensure your HVAC system can cool and heat your homes evenly. Dirty filters can be hazardous for your health and wallet. If you need help installing or checking up on your air filters, give us a call at (954) 228-5965, and we’d be happy to help!
 

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