Selecting A New HVAC Air Filter? 5 Tips For Increasing Efficiency Potential

With the average home’s indoor air quality substantially below healthy levels, selecting a new HVAC air filter that can efficiently capture pollutants is a significant decision that can impact the health and comfort of you and your loved ones.

Use these five tips to help you choose the right air filter for your needs, while maximizing energy efficiency:

  • First, determine your household's primary objective. For instance, for allergy and/or asthma sufferers, a higher-efficiency filter brings needed relief. However, higher efficiency filters can restrict HVAC system airflow, which can increase energy consumption and may possibly damage the unit.
  • A simple way to determine a filter’s efficiency is by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating, which measures a filter's ability to remove contaminants from indoor air. The higher the MERV rating (up to 16), the better capturing capabilities the filter provides. Filters with MERV ratings between 9 and 12 strike a happy medium for providing excellent contaminant-capturing efficiency, while not placing too much strain on your HVAC system. Consult with an HVAC contractor to select the right MERV-rated filter for your particular system.
  • Not all air filters will display the MERV rating. Many manufacturers choose to provide alternative information, such as a filter's “pressure drop” rating. Pressure drop, sometimes called “filter resistance,” provides information about the filter's resistance to airflow through the duct system. The higher the resistance, the more energy is consumed to pull air through the filter.
  • Initial efficiency is the rating that filters have when they are new. This may or may not be the filter's highest efficiency rating during its life cycle. Some filters experience improved contaminant-capturing efficiency as they collect dirt and debris. This, however, is not a reason to neglect checking your filter regularly.
  • Sustained efficiency is perhaps a more accurate and useful rating (as opposed to initial efficiency) for determining a filter's contaminant-capturing efficiency over its life cycle. 

The goal of a home air filter is to remove as many contaminants from the air as possible. However, keep in mind that the filter you select will impact HVAC energy efficiency, too.

If you have questions about selecting a new HVAC air filter, contact a qualified heating and cooling pro today at Conroe Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration. We serve homeowners in the Conroe, Montgomery County and surrounding areas of Texas.