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If you want to improve the air quality in your home and protect your furnace from dust and debris, you need to choose the right furnace filter.
But how do you know which one is the best for your needs? One of the factors you should consider is the MERV rating of the filter.
There more to Furnace filters than the rating, but this rating is a vital component to your families health curing the winter months.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a rating system that measures how well a filter can capture particles of different sizes, ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at trapping smaller and finer particles. However, a higher MERV rating also means a higher resistance to airflow, which can reduce the performance and efficiency of your furnace. Therefore, you need to balance the filtration level and the airflow of your system.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , most residential systems can adequately remove airborne contaminants with a filter rated MERV 7-12. Filters with MERV 13-16 are typically used in hospital and general surgery settings, while filters with MERV 17-20 are HEPA filters that can remove 99.97% of particles in the 0.3-micron range.

There are different types of furnace filters available in the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Pleated filters: These are made of folded paper or synthetic material that create more surface area to capture particles. They usually have a MERV rating of 5-13, depending on the number and size of the pleats. They are more effective and durable than flat-panel filters, but they also cost more and may restrict airflow more.
  • Electrostatic filters: These are made of self-charging fibers that attract and hold particles using static electricity. They usually have a MERV rating of 8-10, and they can be either disposable or washable. They are good at capturing dust, pollen, and pet dander, but they may not be effective against bacteria, viruses, and smoke. They also require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent mold growth and fire hazards.
  • Activated carbon filters: These are made of carbon granules that absorb odors, gases, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. They usually have a MERV rating of 6-8, and they are often combined with other types of filters to provide both particle and odor removal. They are ideal for homes with pets, smokers, or chemical sensitivities, but they also need to be replaced frequently as they lose their effectiveness over time.

To choose the best furnace filter for your home, you should consider the following factors:

  • The size and compatibility of your furnace: You should measure the dimensions of your existing filter and check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the maximum MERV rating that your system can handle. A filter that is too big, too small, or too restrictive can damage your furnace and reduce its efficiency.
  • The level of air quality and filtration you need: You should assess the sources and types of contaminants in your indoor air, such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, smoke, odors, etc. You should also consider the health and comfort of your family members, especially if they have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. Based on these factors, you can choose the appropriate MERV rating and type of filter that can meet your needs.
  • The cost and frequency of replacement: You should compare the initial and ongoing costs of different types of filters, as well as the recommended lifespan and replacement schedule. Generally, the higher the MERV rating and the more advanced the filter material, the more expensive and shorter-lived the filter is. You should also factor in the energy savings and health benefits that a higher-quality filter can provide.

To summarize, the best furnace filter for your home depends on your furnace size and compatibility, your air quality and filtration needs, and your budget and preferences. By understanding the MERV rating system and the different types of filters, you can make an informed decision that can improve your indoor air quality and protect your furnace.

Contact Us for Heating & Cooling System Services in Syracuse, NY

It’s much easier to have Hummingbird Heating and Cooling of Syracuse NY handle your furnace maintenance. We can install the furnace filter of your choice and check to ensure your system is maintained to deliver heat every hour needed for you and your family.
Regular maintenance of your filter is key. A dirty furnace filter can trigger ailments like allergies and asthma. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Our expert technicians at Hummingbird Heating and Cooling are here to help.

Stay warm and worry-free this winter – contact us today for comprehensive HVAC system maintenance and furnace repair services.
Let us ensure your home remains a haven of warmth and comfort, regardless of the winter weather outside.

We offer maintenance plans we’ve titled our Early Bird Maintenance plans.