Furnace Filters Explained
Furnace filters are a crucial part of your HVAC system, but you likely don’t give them much thought except when changing them out. Furnace filters are primarily used for protecting your equipment. Larger more efficient filters can be purchased to assist in keeping your air clean. But how do you know if you’re buying the right one? That will all be answered below.
What is MERV?
Furnace filters are rated on a scale of efficiency called a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. It’s a way of representing the filter’s ability to capture particles between 0.3-10 microns. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at catching those types of tiny particles. Standard 1” filters can range from 1-13 MERV, however we highly recommend staying on the lower end of that spectrum if using a 1” filter. High MERV 1” filters create an immense amount of air restriction on your system. This can choke out your furnace and create issues that will require expensive repairs. Instead, if you are looking to get a high MERV filter, purchase a thicker 4” or 5” wide filter. These filters expand the surface area, allowing the air to pass through more freely while still adequately removing the smallest of particles.
When Should I Replace My Filter?
One-inch filters need to be replace every 1-3 months. Depending on how quickly your filter gets dirty, four-to-five-inch filters need to be replaced every 6-9 months. One of the most common no-heat calls or no-cool calls we receive are caused by dirty, clogged up filters. By staying on top of a filter change out schedule, you are extending the longevity of the equipment, avoiding unnecessary service calls, and ensuring that your furnace can breathe easy.
Should I Upgrade to a Higher MERV Filter?
If you have a lot of pets, have family members with allergies, or seem to have a lot of dust in your home, upgrading to a high MERV filter would certainly benefit you. When installing a new thicker filter, they come equipped with a media cabinet to hold the filter and make changeouts simple. These media cabinets require seven inches of space between the furnace and the return air drop (the ductwork that drops down and ties into the side of your furnace). If your system setup doesn’t have that kind of clearance, there are simple alterations that will need to happen to make it fit, but nothing an experienced contractor can’t handle! Even if the situations described above don’t apply to you, it’s still a good idea. Having a more efficient filter removing more debris from making it into your system will only extend its life. If this sounds like a change you would be interested in making with your current system, give us a call and we will get you taken care of. 815-338-0282