How Do I Choose the Right Air Filter For Me?

source: HomerunHeating

You may be surprised to learn that your air filter is one of the essential parts of the HVAC system. However, it often gets overlooked. Your air filter should be given the same priority as groceries when it comes to monthly budgeting. As we are all trying to live our healthiest life, an air filter could play a part in getting there. Air filters remove pet dander, dust, and other allergens from the air. With that said, how do you know which one is right for your home?

Differences Between Reusable and Disposable Filters

HVAC filters are available in both a disposable and washable version. Washable filters are environmentally friendly, as you won’t be throwing them away anytime soon. Some even come with a ten-year guarantee. Cleaning this type of filter is something all the family can do, remove from the HVAC, wash, dry, and place them back. Since maintaining the filters is so simple, what is the downside? Washable filters require much more effort and often become full of dust and pollutants, just like any other filter. To ensure your system is running as it should ensure that you clean your filters monthly. Should a member of your family have allergies, you could be washing your filter every two weeks. Allergy sufferers are known to have fewer symptoms when washed more frequently.

The best part is that this type of filter does not require particular chemicals to clean it. You can use any soap and bit of elbow grease, dry, and put back. Ok, so all set to clean, where is the disadvantage? Should the filter not be 100% dry, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and may cause more damage than before you removed it. The extent of the damage could even affect your HVAC system. Another drawback is that during the summer months, your system needs to be off while you wait for the filter to dry. This leads to hours of discomfort while your machine is off. It also becomes somewhat of a maintenance chore. Depending on how dirty the filter is, with drying, it could take more than an hour to clean, and that’s every month.

The disposable filter, on the other hand, is always clean and ready to use. During the summer months, you will need to change them out without interfering with the temperature of your home. You can’t always guarantee that you have thoroughly cleaned your washable filter. Any small bacteria left on the washable filter which creates an odor around your home. Washable air filters require a lot of attention, whereas disposable are always clean and safe.

Finding the Right Size Filter

Fitting the right filter will keep your HVAC running at full capacity. Without the right filter, all the debris, dust, and pollutants will be able to circulate your home. First, you need to calculate the dimensions of your HVAC system. Most HVAC’s will work with a 1-inch thick filter.

MERV Rating

The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating determines the effectiveness of the filter. A lower number means that more particles can pass through. However, you don’t need to opt for the highest MERV for your home. A rating of around eight is enough to keep out the dust, allergens, and pet dander. For those family members who have severe allergies or asthma, they may choose to have a MERV of up to twelve. For more information on buying the right filter, go to