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Choosing the Right Furnace Filter

Choosing the Right Furnace FilterAre you choosing a good quality air filter for your heating and cooling system? Many people replace the filter regularly, but don’t take the time to choose one of good quality. The result is poor air quality in your home and possibly added strain to your HVAC components. 

You should know how most furnace filters are rated before making an informed choice. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating, is the industry standard for measuring the effectiveness of a filter at trapping airborne particulates. The scale runs from 1-16 for residential uses, though the higher-range filters, while super-efficient, are relatively rare in home systems since they do impede airflow. When shopping for the right furnace filter, you will find several types.

Common Filter Types

  • Disposable fiberglass filters – These cheap flat-panel filters will allow small particles to pass through the filter and enter your air circulation. Most larger particles are captured, which does provide some protection for your heating and cooling components.The MERV rating is 1-4
  • Disposable pleated filters – A folded design provides a larger filter surface to capture large and small air particles. Your air quality will be improved and the system components protected with this efficient filter. The MERV is typically 6-12.
  • Washable filters – Extensive maintenance is necessary to maintain efficiency, which makes this an unpopular choice for homeowners. Installing a filter that’s damp from cleaning can contribute to mold formation. MERV ratings are  1-4.
  • High-efficiency filters – Dense filtration material in a pleated design gives this filter superior ability to trap air particles. Airflow restrictions can be expected, however. These filters usually, as a result, require serious system modifications to work in your furnace or A/C system. Homeowners with special air quality concerns can benefit from this type of filter. The MERV rating is 13-16.

The manufacturer of your furnace may have recommendations for which filter works the best with your system. Some filters are specially designed to remove allergens from the air for households with allergy sufferers.

Please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning for more help choosing the right furnace filter. We have been serving the Fresno area for over 40 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnace filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Pelfophotot/Shutterstock”