Choosing the Right Air Filter For Your Calgary Home

Just go to any home improvement store and the choice of home air filters can be dizzying. What does my system require? Should you just get the cheapest? These are just a few of the questions that make the selection mind-boggling. Let Winnipeg Supply Service Experts attempt to resolve your home air filter questions and allow you to continue enjoying the comfort of your home without concern.

Here’s a simple way to figure out 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): Set the filter horizontally, then taking everyday table salt, begin to pour the salt through the filter to see the amount comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you know that the filter will let dust particles of similar size pass through. You really should upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient.

Home air filter selection depends primarily on three factors: 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 proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. Most home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a numerous 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 tells the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to hold contaminants.

As a basic example, these are some common MERV ratings and how they correspond to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for 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%
Extended pleated

MERV 13-16 >98%
Electronic

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 take 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 aim is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.

Think about it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would equivalent to a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Winnipeg 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 based upon the advice of your Winnipeg Supply Service Experts technician to ensure your system has the capability of moving the suitable amount 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 has allergies or respiratory problems and needs a high MERV air filter, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will satisfy your energy and filter efficiency needs.

Filtration has changed greatly over the past few years. Early on, 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. Winnipeg area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a a growing list of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!

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