Are All Air Filters Created Equal?

At Rosenberg Plumbing & Air, we work hard to keep our San Antonio customers comfortable throughout the year. You may know us for our comprehensive heating and cooling services. In recent years, we have expanded our services to include solutions that improve your indoor air quality. For example, our residential duct cleaning service will remove impurities that are hiding in your home. While we can install serious equipment like UV air sanitizers and dehumidifiers, choosing the right filter for your home comfort systems can have a big impact on the air you breathe.

Common Indoor Allergens

Every homeowner deals with dust. The household dust that you can see floating in a sunbeam contains impurities like fibers, outdoor dirt, and pet dander. Every time someone walks through a room, it stirs up the dust and sends particles back into the air. Although this visible dust is unsightly, your body’s natural filtration system prevents much of it from getting into your lungs.

Mixed in with the visible dust are much smaller impurities. At the next size level, you will find mold spores and pollen grains. Contact with these particles can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people. They may develop allergy symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a cough.

At the microscopic level, you will find biological and chemical irritants. Bacteria and viruses are serious health concerns. High concentrations of volatile organic compounds bring unpleasant odors and can also have physical effects.

The Meaning of MERV

In our profession, MERV is the label we use to measure the ability of a filter to remove impurities. This acronym stands for Minimum Effective Reporting Value. The higher the MERV rating indicates that the filter can remove a higher percentage of smaller particles. Switching to a filter with a higher MERV rating can have a serious impact on the quality of your home air.

Low-MERV Filters

When your home comfort systems are running, they create a flow of air through your home. Fans pull the air toward your heating and cooling systems. Then, they push the treated air through your ductwork and out your vents.

Without an air filter, this flowing air would also pull hair, fibers, and dust into your heating and cooling system equipment. This debris can lower your system’s efficiency and cause damage over time.

Filters with a MERV rating of one to four protect your equipment from larger particles, but they do not do much for your air quality. The impurities in household dust that cause allergies will still make it through the filter.

Mid-Range Filters

When the MERV rating goes above four, you will experience more benefits to your indoor air. A filter with a MERV 8 rating will remove most particles that are larger than 3 microns. This includes the removal of mold spores, dust mite litter, and pollen grains. If you have family members who struggle with seasonal allergies, this strength of filter can help make your home more comfortable. You may also notice less dust buildup around your home.

Filters with a MERV 9 to 12 rating will filter particles down to 1 micron. These filters will remove all visible household impurities as well as very fine dust like tobacco ash. You should see an improvement in your home’s cleanliness when using a higher MERV rated filter.

It is important to remember that you are not producing less dust. Instead, the filter is capturing more impurities. For the most effective filtering, you need to change the filter regularly.

High-MERV Filters

As you think about air quality, you may think that you want the highest MERV rating possible. Unfortunately, there is an issue for many home systems. It takes your home comfort systems more energy to draw air through a stronger filter. As you increase the MERV rating on your filter, you may notice an increase in your utility bills. Also, the extra work can shorten the life of your system. Before you upgrade your filter to the highest MERV filter rating, talk to one of our experts to see what your system can handle.

At the highest MERV ratings of 16 to 20, the filter can remove particles that are smaller than 0.3 microns. Businesses that require a sterile area or cleanroom may use this type of filter. However, they also have air-moving systems designed to handle the extra work.

Your Partner for Home Comfort

At Rosenberg Plumbing & Air, we want you to be comfortable in every season. In addition to providing you will quality air service, our experienced professionals can handle the installation, maintenance, and repair of all your home comfort equipment needs. Contact us for more information today.

Tags: , ,