Your home’s indoor air quality can get a boost depending upon the air filter you select. Air filters protect your HVAC system from airborne particles, but by selecting an air filter that is more efficient at removing particles from the air you can improve indoor air quality. Air filters are tested for how well they remove particles and then given a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). Filters with a higher MERV will remove more particles from the air, especially smaller particles.
High MERV air filters do have a downside in that they have an increased resistance to airflow. This means you will need to balance your home’s indoor air quality needs with your HVAC system’s need for sufficient airflow. Most home systems can achieve sufficient airflow rates with filters in the range of 8 to 11 MERV, but if you feel like your home could benefit from additional particulate removal, you may want to check with an HVAC professional to see if your system could handle a 12 or 13 MERV filter. The highest efficiency filters available are high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These have MERVs in excess of 16 and could never be installed into an existing home system. To get this level of filtration, you would have to have a separate unit installed.
Dirty air filters also have a high resistance to airflow, so you need to change your air filter regularly. You shouldn’t wash or vacuum dirty filters because they would likely become damaged or re-release particulates into the air when re-installed.
Different systems will use differently sized filters. The dimensions are likely listed on your current filter, or you can measure them and round to the nearest inch to get the nominal dimensions. A correctly sized filter will not have to be forced in, but there maybe some small gaps around it that you’ll want to seal with gasket tape.
For more ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality, contact the pros at AirRite Air Conditioning Company, Inc. We have been providing superior HVAC services to homeowners and businesses in the Arlington and Fort Worth areas since 1955.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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