How to Choose an Air Filter

We’ve discussed many times on this blog the importance of regularly changing your air filter. The air filter is responsible for cleaning the air that runs through your air conditioning system. As the air is sent throughout your home, it passes through the filter, which then removes any pollutants from that air. An air filter can only hold so much, which means that when your air filter is full, it is no longer effective. Changing your air filter is key to ensuring your air conditioning is running at its peak, energy-efficient, level. It also helps keep contaminants (such as dust and allergens) from being spread around your home or office.

Part of the process of changing your air filter is making sure that you replace it with an air filter that is capable of doing its job. There are two main factors that you need to take into consideration when choosing your air filter: the clean air delivery rate (CADR) and the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV).

The CADR is the rating system that informs you of the filter’s ability to remove particles from the air while still allowing your air to flow through the space. The CADR is measured by taking the percentage of particles that the filter removes and multiplying it by rate of the air flow (measure in cubic feet per minute). The better the rating, the more efficient the filter.

The MERV is the rating system that measures the ability of the filter to remove or trap pollutants of varying sizes. The MERV measures on a scale of 1-16, with a higher number meaning that the filter is able to capture more, smaller pollutants. It is important to know that a increased MERV score usually means a decreased amount of air flow.

When you are looking at the CADR and MERV ratings on your potential air filters, it’s important to make sure the number combination gives you the most amounts of pollutants captured without sacrificing your airflow. By finding the right balance for your home, you will make sure that your air conditioning system is working at its full capacity. If you ever have any questions on what is the right air filter for your system, talk to your certified HVAC technician. He will be able to advise you on the right type of filter for your system.

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