One of the quickest, simplest and least expensive things you can do to improve your furnace’s efficiency is to change the unit’s filter. Clean filters let the furnace make better use of the fuel it burns to generate heat, which improves efficiency and decreases your overall heating bills.
Better filters lead to greater savings and improved air quality in your home. High-efficiency filters are also much better at eliminating airborne contaminants that can be detrimental to your family’s health.
A standard rating of filter efficiency is the MERV number. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV filter ratings are numerical values representing how effectively the filter captures and removes airborne particles ranging from 0.3-10 microns in size.
MERV ratings commonly range from 1-16. The higher the MERV filter rating, the smaller the particles the filter can eliminate from your indoor air. A MERV 16 filter, for example, can trap very small particles such as bacteria, tobacco smoke, powders and paint pigments. A MERV 1 filter, in comparison, traps only larger items such as dust mites, textile and carpet fibers, mold spores and pollen.
Low-cost furnace filters generally have MERV ratings of 1-4, which means they are only minimally effective. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, which developed the MERV scale, recommends filters with a minimum MERV rating of 6.
If you need filters that are even more effective at keeping your indoor air clean and free of pollutants, consider HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters. These filters provide filtration at a MERV level of 17-20. HEPA filters are commonly used in hospitals, clean rooms and other environments where air purity is essential and contaminants must be kept to an absolute minimum.
Air-Tro Inc. is trusted source of heating, ventilation and air conditioning services. Since 1969, we’ve provided design, installation, repair and maintenance to customers in the greater Los Angeles area, including L.A. and Orange Counties, Riverside metro and San Bernardino County. Contact us today for answers to your questions on MERV filter ratings or to find a high-efficiency filter for your heating system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about MERV filters and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
Air-Tro Inc. services the greater Los Angeles area as well as the metro areas of Riverside and San Bernardino County.