Tips on Choosing the Right HVAC Filter | Best Pick Reports
It’s best to clean or replace your air filter every month, especially during the heavy-use seasons. A dirty air filter will force your system to work harder, thus wasting energy. Also, dirt buildup on your filter could lead to system damage and costly repairs.
Most forced-air systems employ a filter made from fiberglass, which is relatively cheap. Unfortunately, these filters don’t do much to improve the air quality inside your home. If that’s a concern for you, you may want to consider changing to a pleated filter, which is made from a paper-like material. Pleated filters will do a much better job of trapping dust and other particles before they leave the system. Some higher-end pleated filters even have electrostatic capabilities, which provide even greater dust and allergen prevention. You can compare different filters yourself by looking at their MERV rating. A filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating indicates its ability to capture particles that are blown through it.
The higher the MERV rating, the greater percentage of particles it will capture. For residential purposes, most filters have a MERV rating between 8 and 12. A MERV rating of 16 is typical for operating rooms and will capture 95% of particles within the designated range.