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Air Conditioning Filters – Which One is Right for You?

Posted on in Blogs

Our HVAC technicians are often asked about their recommendations for HVAC filters. Customers want to know what type of filter should be used to improve the efficiency of their HVAC systems. In past years, fiberglass filters were the most commonly used. However, pleated filters have overtaken fiberglass filters in popularity. Pleated filters are more effective than fiberglass at removing particulates from the air and these filters have a higher industry rating. 

When Air Quality Matters

A measurement of the effectiveness of the filter is the MERV rating. A higher MERV rating indicates that the filter traps smaller particles. When air quality matters, select a filter with a higher MERV rating. HVAC experts recommend that homeowners use a filter with a MERV rating of at least 6. 

The MERV Rating

The acronym “MERV” stands for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The MERV number is an indicator of the size of the particles that will be blocked by the filter.

Four types of AC filters available at your local home improvement store. 

  • Fiberglass Filters - Standard fiberglass filters may have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. This low MERV rating indicates that the filter does not block small microns very effectively. Though once an industry standard, fiberglass filters are being used less and less. Other filter types are more effective.
  • Pleated Filters - A pleated filter has more surface area and can collect smaller microns than fiberglass. Pleated filters may have MERV ratings between 5 and 8. Most residential homes now use pleated filters. 
  • Electrostatic Filters - Some homeowners choose to use electrostatic filters. These filters add a level of static protection and they remove bacteria from the air. 
  • HEPA Filters - HEPA filters are rated with the highest MERV rating of all types of filters. “HEPA” stands for high efficiency particulate air and, by definition, HEPA filters are the most efficient filters available. HEPA filters can have a MERV rating as high as 16 as these filters can remove particulates smaller than .3 microns from the air. 

If air quality matters in your home, select air conditioning filters with higher MERV ratings. However, make sure that the filter will fit and work well with your system. For example, some HEPA filters with very high MERV ratings are designed for use in hospitals and clean environments. The average residential HVAC system in Port Neches TX will not accommodate these commercial filters. Your HVAC technician can advise you with regards to the type of filter that is best for your system and needs. Your HVAC professional will likely recommend a pleated filter with a MERV rating of 6 or above. Be sure to make a note of the measurements of the filter. Most air conditioning filters are provided in a variety of sizes. 

When you have questions about your choice of air conditioning filters, call Thermacon Service Company. Our HVAC professionals will recommend the right filter for your air conditioning system. Thermacon Service Company provides HVAC repair, maintenance and installation services to customers in the greater Port Neches TX area.