When it comes to air conditioning, there is a big difference between standard and high-efficiency filters. Standard flat filters are designed to protect the climate system, while high-efficiency pleated filters offer a much higher level of filtration. High-efficiency pleated filters contain a material that folds like an accordion, allowing for greater surface area and lower resistance to airflow. They are available in standard-sized pleats or mini-pleats and offer MERV ratings ranging from 11 to 14. While they are more expensive than regular filters, they offer several beneficial features. High-efficiency air filters reduce system energy consumption and don't need to be replaced as often as cheaper filters.
The MERV standard is used primarily to measure the performance of filters designed for forced air HVAC systems. A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter offers one of the highest levels of filtration, with a minimum effectiveness of 99.97%.The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 20, and a higher score indicates a more efficient filter. Regular air filters don't have a MERV rating and are typically designed to protect your climate system rather than improve indoor air quality. MERV filters are designed to trap tiny particles such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites, while normal filters can only capture larger particles, such as dust and debris. MERV filters are often used in commercial environments, hospitals, and other buildings that require high air quality.
They are also recommended for people with allergies or respiratory problems who need cleaner air to breathe. However, it's important to note that MERV filters can restrict airflow more than regular air filters, which can reduce HVAC efficiency and increase energy bills. Homeowners should consult with an HVAC professional to determine what type of filter is best for their needs. Not all filters are made the same way, quality really matters, especially when buying an air filter. You may need to replace the filter more often if you have some very furry pets, for example, or if you live in an area with a lot of air pollution, such as from wildfires.
If your air conditioning system requires a thicker filter, it will most likely be a bit expensive than other standard filter sizes. Some filter brands and retailers use alternative scales, such as Home Depot's Air Filter Performance Rating System (FPR) or the MPR (on 3M Filtrete air filters). While the market offers many types of air filters, most homeowners don't understand how to choose a good filter. You should expect to replace the filter every three to 12 months of use, depending on the size of the filter. An electrostatic filter uses static electricity to give contaminants a static charge when they enter the filter. Your HVAC professional would install a small cabinet next to your oven or air controller (on the air intake side) to hold the thicker filter.
While MERV filters with a high rating are more effective at removing airborne particulates, they lose their effectiveness faster than other filters and can also be detrimental to proper HVAC airflow. The material of a pleated air filter follows a fold pattern, which increases surface area and, in turn, allows for greater air flow while maintaining air quality. Filter efficiency describes its ability to purify indoor air by trapping airborne particles by size. They include more folds per inch, which increases their efficiency, and are capable of filtering up to 45% of the particles that float in the house. The right MERV rating for your home will depend on several factors, including your personal health problems, the air quality in your area, and the type of HVAC system you have. Remember that high-quality filters save you money in the end.