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Choosing The Right HVAC Filter

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “HVAC filters are designed to filter pollutants or contaminants out of the air that passes through them. Filtration can help reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses.” When choosing the correct air filter it is important to be aware of the MERV & HEPA rating as well as what your HVAC system recommends. Here are some things to consider when choosing an air filter for your HVAC system.


MERV & HEPA Rating

The MERV rating on an air filter stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values”. This rating reports a filter’s ability to capture airborne particles between 0.3 and 10 microns. These ratings range from a 1 rating, which only captures larger microns, to a 16 rating which captures even the smallest microns. Another recommendation is the use of HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air) filters. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that these filters “can remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.” These air filters will ensure the safe removal of harmful air contaminants within your building.


HVAC System Recommendations

To get the most functionality from your air filter it is important to follow the recommendations of your system. Choosing a filter that is not recommended for your system can cause your HVAC system to work too hard, or not be as effective in removing particles compared to if it were using the correct filter. An HVAC system that is working too hard can lead to wear of parts, and costly breakdowns if not addressed. It can also lead to higher energy costs due to more energy required to perform correctly.


When To Replace Your Air Filter

It is recommended to have your air filter changed every three months/quarterly to prevent a dirty or contaminated air filter. Air filters that are not changed regularly are ineffective at capturing air particles and can even blow contaminated air back into your building. One of the easiest ways to tell if your filter needs to be changed is if your filter has visible dirt and residue buildup, or has not been changed within the three-month timespan. 


Using the correct air filter will not only lead to healthier indoor air but will also increase energy savings and keep your HVAC system running smoothly.