Trying to select the right air filter for your Savannah home can be a daunting experience. What’s the best one? Is the more expensive products worth the investment? These are just a few of the questions that make selecting home air filters so mind-boggling. Let Coastal Service Experts crack the code of home air filters for you, so you can feel comfortable with your purchase.
Here’s an easy way to determine how efficient your old filter is (NOTE: To avoid a big mess, we highly recommend conducting this test outside or over a protected surface): Set the filter horizontally, then taking common table salt, pour the salt through the filter and see how much comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can imagine that the filter will let dust pass through as well. You really should upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient.
There are 3 primary considerations when choosing a household air filter; Size, Material and MERV rating.
1) Filter Size
Size is the easiest factor to ascertain. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the height by width and thickness, or just measure it yourself. Typically home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a number of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.
2) Material & MERV Rating
Filter efficiencies are given a number from 1-16 called the MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number informs the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to capture contaminants.
To help explain the scale of this system, these are some usual MERV ratings and how they connect to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so don’t forget to read the filter manufacturers’ information when purchasing specific filters.
Rating Average Filtration Efficiency
MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)
MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube
MERV 9-12 >95%
MERV 13-16 >98%
Be Careful About High MERV Ratings
While a higher MERV number may provide better filtration efficiency, it is very important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your HVAC system. The higher the MERV, the more restricted the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your objective should be to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.
Look at it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would probably be a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Savannah home. That's all-out air filtration, but would also be a terrible way to live.
The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used on the advice of your Coastal Service Experts representative to ensure your system has the capability of moving the suitable quantity of air through higher efficiency filters. You normally do not want to lose energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems and needs a high MERV air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will meet your energy and filter efficiency needs.
Filtration has changed significantly over the past several years. Initially, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to protect the comfort equipment itself. Today it’s a whole new ballgame. Savannah area homeowners expect their air filter to save children from a a growing list of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!