Trying to select the right air filter for your Haltom City home can be a daunting experience. Which brand is best? Should you just get the cheapest? These are just two of many of the questions that make selecting home air filters so mind-boggling. Let Stark Services crack the code of home air filters for you, so you can feel comfortable with your purchase.
Here’s an easy way to figure out how efficient your current filter is (NOTE: To avoid a big mess, we highly recommend conducting this test outside or over a protected surface): Set the filter horizontally, then with standard table salt, start pouring the salt through the filter to see how much comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you know that the filter will let dust that same size flow through. You really should upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient.
Home air filter selection depends primarily on three factors: Size, material and MERV rating.
1) Filter Size
Size is the easiest factor to ascertain. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. The majority of home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a number of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.
2) Material & MERV Rating
MERV ratings are the efficiencies of the filter on a scale of 16. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number identifies for the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to capture contaminants.
To help explain the scale of this system, these are some typical MERV ratings and how they correspond to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when buying specific filters.
Rating Average Filtration Efficiency
MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)
MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube
MERV 9-12 >95%
MERV 13-16 >98%
Be Careful About High MERV Ratings
While a higher MERV number may ensure better filtration efficiency, it is extremely important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your furnace and AC system. The higher the MERV, the less the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your objective should be to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Look at it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would equivalent to a piece of plywood that stops ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Haltom City home. That's definitely the “best” air filtration, but would also be the least comfortable way to go.
The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used subject to the advice of your Stark Services representative to confirm your system has the capability of moving the suitable quantity of air through higher efficiency filters. You normally do not want to give up energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems and the situation necessitates a high MERV rated air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will achieve your energy and filter efficiency needs.
Filtration has changed considerably over the past several years. In the beginning, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to shelter the comfort equipment itself. But (in the words of Bob Dylan) the times they are a changing. Haltom City area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a wide variety of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!