Which Furnace Filters Should I Use in My Home?
Although there are many types of furnaces available on the market, there’s one component that no furnace can do without: the furnace filter. Although furnace filters are non-negotiable, what is negotiable is the type of furnace filter that you use. If you’ve ever shopped for a furnace filter, you’ve likely been confronted with an overwhelming number of options. To help you sort through what’s available to find what’s best for your South Charleston home, here are a few tips from Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.
Understanding the MERV Scale
When choosing a furnace filter, one number should be at the forefront at all times: the MERV rating. MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value,” and it measures the density of a particular filter. Looking at the MERV rating will reliably indicate the types of indoor pollutants that you can expect to capture when you install a certain filter in your HVAC system. You can find filters with MERV ratings ranging from 1 to 20, with higher numbers indicating denser filter fibers.
Don’t Overlook Your HVAC System
Don’t assume that you should simply opt for the highest MERV rating when choosing a filter. To do so, in fact, would likely cause your HVAC system to malfunction. Instead, Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling encourages you to consider the throughput capacity of your HVAC system and find a filter that matches this capacity. Basically, when you use a denser filter, less air can get through, meaning that your system will need to work harder to move air. Some systems are specifically designed to move enough air to allow for filters with a higher MERV rating. Most systems, however, will begin to struggle once you reach a MERV rating of 14 or higher. By knowing your system, you can purchase the correct filter to provide the cleanest air and most efficient system operation.
Another important consideration when choosing a good filter for your home is the allergy sufferers in your family. If you know that certain individuals in your home suffer from certain allergies, you may want to consider using air filters that can capture these specific allergens. For example, if someone suffers from a mold-related allergy, you will want to opt for a filter with a MERV rating of 5 or higher since these filters are proven to capture mold spores. Of course, some allergens will be too small for all but the most efficient filters, so it’s best to find a good middle ground that will keep everyone as healthy as possible.
Disposable or Washable?
If you’re tired of throwing away money every month in the form of furnace filters, Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling has a potential solution. Washable filters are reusable, often for years at a time. If you’re willing to put in the work to thoroughly clean these filters when they become choked with dust, you can avoid buying filters and save a lot of money. Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling recommends that you buy at least two of these filters if you opt for this route. This will ensure that you always have a fresh filter in place while the newly clean filter is drying.
What Not To Buy
Filters with a MERV rating below 4 are typically not effective at capturing any significant amounts of dust or other pollutants. This is because the fibers in these filters are spaced much further apart and don’t have the extra layer of filtering fabric that other filters have. The lack of filtering capacity means that more dust will flow through your system, wearing on components and increasing the frequency of allergy symptoms. Therefore, while these filters might be less expensive, you’ll pay more over time in the form of more frequent repair bills for your HVAC system.
Helping You Care for Your Furnace
At Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, our primary goal is to help homeowners live comfortably. That’s why we offer complete maintenance, repair, and installation services for furnaces and air conditioners. We also offer plumbing services, including plumbing repair, water heater installation, drain cleaning, backflow prevention, and more. For over 40 years, we’ve been taking care of this community with our honest and professional services. That’s why we consistently receive high marks from satisfied customers throughout the region. If you want to learn more about furnace filters, indoor air quality monitoring, or furnaces and HVAC systems in general, contact the HVAC pros at Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling today.