When it comes to in-home air filters, it can be difficult to know what’s best. Are the expensive filters worth the upfront costs?
The most common system for measuring the filtration capability of an air filter is known as MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Low-MERV filters (MERV 1-4) filter relatively few particles compared to high-MERV filters (think 11-16).
Depending on the type and density of the filter media, different filters can reduce or remove:
• Dust: usually MERV 1-4
• Pollen, dust mites, and mold: usually MERV 5-8
• Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products, paints, etc: MERV 8-16
• Hospital grade filtration can even remove bacteria (MERV 13-17) and viruses (MERV 15-20)!
MERV values vary depending on the filter media type and size, and they’re not uniform across all brands and filter applications, but most filters that homeowners install themselves have MERV values between 6 and 12.
Pleated, high-MERV filters definitely capture a lot of pollutants, but they also restrict the movement of air into your blower or furnace. For this reason, they are just not a good idea. In fact, 3M Filtrete, “90 day” pleated air filters are just about worst filter you can use.
These types of filter restrict far too much air. In only a short time, they cause the blower motor to work harder than it was designed to work by starving the evaporator coil for air, which means the heat is not being absorbed as efficiently as it could. If you have freon returning outside to the compressor hotter than it should be, then the compressor must work harder and hotter. When heat is not dissipated outside, then it is being recycled back into the home hotter than it should be, which means it is absorbing less heat. A new blower motor can cost anywhere from $385 to $1400, and your HVAC unit is increasing your energy bill as it works longer and harder at the same time.
So it turns out that going with a filter that is too restrictive for your system costs you extra money up front, and then all the way through. Check with our friendly experts at Denco Services before you replace your filters next time. We are happy to walk you through the best options for your situation! Call us today @ 817-691-6014 or fill out our online contact form!