How Do I Know Which Air Filter to Buy for My Home?
You just noticed that it’s time (or maybe way past time!) to change the air filter in your HVAC system. Did you have it on your calendar to switch it every 90 days, or did you just notice that your heating bills have been even higher than usual and you figured it might be time to check your furnace? Regardless, when it’s time to go shopping for this important maintenance item for your home, it can be a little overwhelming, whether you’re shopping online or browsing the aisle of your local home improvement store. So, how do you know which air filter to buy for your home? Here are some important things to consider when it’s time to replace that nasty, dust-filled furnace filter.
- Cost. You’ll notice right away that there is a wide range of options for your budget. Do you want to pay just a few dollars per filter, or are you okay with spending a few times that much? We’re guessing you’ll want to pay as little as possible, but bear in mind that not all filters are created equally. Basic fiberglass filters (which are usually the cheapest options) are only going to filter out the largest particles of debris in your home’s air. That means you’ll save initially on the filters, but you could spend more in the long run due to the negative effects of reduced indoor air quality. On the other hand, the filters with the finest degree of filtration (which are usually the most expensive options) are going to filter a lot more particles from the air, which sounds great – but they could also actually make your HVAC system work a lot harder and potentially reduce their lifespan. This has to do with the second aspect of your consideration process…
- Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. You’ll find a MERV rating on each type and brand of filter, and they range from lower to higher based on how small the particles they’re able to filter out from the air. You can see an example of a suggested range of MERV ratings for various indoor spaces at http://www.mechreps.com/PDF/Merv_Rating_Chart.pdf to get a sense of what rating of filter might be best for you, but bear in mind that not all experts agree on what rating is required for a home, so you’ll want to consult various sources and make an informed decision based on the cost considerations discussed above and your personal preferences. In some sense, it can’t hurt to have a higher MERV rating just to be on the safe side, especially if you smoke indoors, have pets or have a lot of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in your home – but again, the higher MERV-rated filters usually cost a lot more, and they could add to your electric bill because your HVAC system has to work harder to pull air through those finer filters.
- Air Duct Cleaning and Dryer Vent Cleaning Services. In addition to the air filter for your HVAC system, you should also be thinking about the cleanliness of your air ducts themselves, as well as your dryer and its attached ventilation system. When these sections of ductwork get clogged over time with particles that start to cake onto all sorts of surfaces, you increase the chances that moldy spores can develop in the ducts. In addition, you’re increasing the risk of a dryer vent fire. Your HVAC system and dryer may also end up having to work harder to function and this can result in higher utility bills. So at first, you may be thinking that an air duct cleaning or dryer vent cleaning service aren’t worth the investment, but we encourage you to think again about the long-term costs of not properly maintaining these vital mechanical systems in your home.
- AdvantaClean: for outstanding indoor air quality. If you’ve got any questions or concerns about your HVAC or dryer systems and aren’t sure where to turn, we’d like to suggest your locally-owned AdvantaClean professionals who are standing by every day and night to serve your family. We’re staffed with indoor air quality technicians who have a wealth of experience and a tireless commitment to a job well done. We take your indoor air quality seriously because it has such an important impact on the rest of your quality of life. Let us show you the difference we can make for your health and happiness at home. We’re only call or click away, so get in touch with us now! It’s not clean until it’s AdvantaClean.
More Info? To learn more about your home's indoor air quality check out: THE IMPORTANCE OF CHANGING YOUR AIR FILTERS