Trying to select the right air filter for your Pierre home can be a daunting experience. What’s the best one? Should you just get the cheapest? These are just a few of the questions that make selecting home air filters so mind-boggling. Let Peitz Service Experts try to help you de-mystify the air filter dilemma.
Here’s a tried and true way to tell how efficient your existing filter is (NOTE: Spare yourself a huge mess by conducting this experiment outside or with something below the filter to help keep things clear): Position the filter horizontally, then with common table salt, pour the salt through the filter and see the quantity that comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you know that the filter will let dust pass through as well. You should probably upgrade your filter to something more efficient.
Size, MERV rating and material – these are the three primary factors used to pick the proper air filter for your home.
1) Filter Size
Purchasing a properly sized air filter for your Pierre home is important. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the dimensions, or just measure it yourself. Typically 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
Filter efficiencies are given a number from 1-16 called the MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number informs the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to hold contaminants.
As a basic example, these are some common MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so don’t forget to read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for 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 very important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also cost you more to operate your furnace and AC system. The higher the MERV, the more difficult the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your goal is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Think about it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would actually be a piece of plywood that stops ALL contaminants and all the air from getting into your Pierre home. That's maximum air filtration, but would also be a terrible way to live.
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 Peitz Service Experts service advisor to ensure your system has the capability of moving the proper quantity of air through higher efficiency filters. You generally do not want to give up energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family has allergies or respiratory problems and a high MERV rated filter is required, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will satisfy your energy and filter efficiency needs.
Filtration has changed considerably over the past few years. Early on, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to safeguard the comfort equipment itself. But (in the words of Bob Dylan) the times they are a changing. Pierre area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a whole host of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!