When it comes to choosing the right HVAC filter for your home, there are a few factors to consider. Generally, HVAC replacement companies recommend HEPA filters for the highest level of protection against airborne particulates. These filters have a MERV rating between 17 and 20, which means they can trap tobacco smoke and bacteria. Disposable fiberglass filters are the most common, but polyester filters offer an improved ability to stop dust and allergens.
Pleated designs tend to have higher MERV ratings, but they require more energy to force air through the filter. Smart filters such as 3M Filtrete use sensors to monitor airflow. When selecting an air filter, it's important to consider the Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating. This rating measures the effectiveness of an oven air filter in capturing particulate matter on a scale from 1 to 16. If the air cleaner is on the return grille inside your home, the arrow should point toward the wall or ceiling.
The time you'll need to change your air filter depends on factors such as your home location, activity, and the presence of pets. If you have pets in your home, you'll need to change your air filter more often. If you select a filter that screens the smallest and finest particles, the air flow of the air conditioner and heating system could be restricted, resulting in unsatisfactory performance and efficiency. A fiberglass HVAC filter may be right for you if you don't have pets, allergies, or chronic respiratory conditions.
It's important to remember that a filter is your HVAC system's first line of defense to ensure that the air quality inside your home is not littered with dirt and dust, and to protect that the internal components of the HVAC unit are clean and functioning properly. After all, the filter is what separates you and your sensitive central forced air equipment from the destructive particles in your home air.