What Kind of Home Air Filter Do I Need? - An Expert's Guide

To find the best air filter for your home needs, it is important to check the filter's efficiency. The efficiency of the air filter is indicated by the Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV). The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is. It is also important to remember to change the air filters regularly.

When it comes to household air filters, there are three main options: pleated filters, fiberglass filters, and washable reusable filters. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so let's take a closer look at them. The size of the air filter is not the only important factor; its MERV rating is also essential. MERV stands for Minimum Value of Efficiency Reporting and indicates how good the air filter is at trapping dust particles and preventing them from recirculating in your home. A MERV rating of 1 is the worst rating, while a MERV rating of 16 is the best. A MERV 16 air filter will trap more dirt, dust particles, allergens, etc.

than a MERV 1 air filter. It is one of the best types of air conditioning filters because it is cost-effective, disposable and protects air conditioners and ovens from waste. It is also important to note that when inserting an air filter into its groove, it must be placed in a specific direction. Additionally, consider running the system fan longer or continuously, as HVAC systems filter air only when the fan is running. Washable filters tend to work differently than fiberglass filters as they let larger particles through and filter out smaller ones. Filters with more pleats will provide better filtration than those with fewer creases, trapping even difficult allergens and contaminants such as pet dander and mold spores. If a window unit or central air does not work for you, there are also portable air conditioners available.

Read the EPA's “Home Air Purifier Guide” for information on how to install and operate a portable air purifier. Medium-efficiency MERV filters like the Nordic Pure MERV 12 can greatly reduce airborne dust, mold spores, pollen and even smoke, and doing so can help ease respiratory ailments according to an NIH review. If your HVAC system uses a coarser filter (usually in the 4-inch to 5-inch range) and usually mounted on the air handler), it's likely designed specifically for medium-efficiency MERV filtration. Both are evidence that the smoky air is finding a way around the clogged filter rather than through it, and that it's time to install a new one.

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