Trying to select the right air filter for your Savannah home can be a daunting experience. Which brand is best? Is the more expensive products worth the investment? These are just a few of the questions that make the selection mind-boggling. Let Coastal Service Experts try to help you de-mystify the air filter dilemma.
Here’s a simple way to tell how efficient your old filter is (NOTE: Do this outdoors or with something below the filter so you don’t end up with a mess): Hold the filter horizontally, then taking common table salt, pour the salt through the filter then 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 something more efficient.
There are 3 primary considerations when choosing a household air filter; Size, Material and MERV rating.
1) Filter Size
Unless you have the proper size home air filter, you will never enjoy the full effectiveness your system and filter can provide. 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
MERV ratings are the efficiencies of the filter on a scale of 16. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number tells 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 extremely important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your HVAC system. The higher the MERV, the less the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your goal is 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 would just trap ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Savannah home. That's maximum 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 based upon the advice of your Coastal Service Experts service advisor 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 a high MERV rated filter is required, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will satisfy 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 safeguard 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!