While size and brand are important when buying air filter replacements, one of the most essential considerations is efficiency. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating, is your key to finding an efficient filter without overpaying. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) established MERV as the industry standard for measuring filter efficiency.
What if Your Air Filter Package Doesn’t Have a MERV Rating Listed?
Some stores use other ratings not issued by ASHRAE. This is fine and dandy if you have your heart set on purchasing filters from a particular store, but what if you want to shop around? It’s difficult to compare prices when efficiency ratings use different scaling systems.
The most important takeaway is that if you see a number corresponding with an acronym other than MERV, it’s not an equivalent rating. Knowing this prevents you from thinking you’re purchasing a better filter than you really are.
What MERV Efficiency Rating Is Best?
When you shop for new air filters, look for one with a mid-range MERV 8-12 rating. This efficiency level strikes the perfect balance between proper airflow, clean indoor air and purchase price.
You can save money by purchasing in bulk. Buying a box of 12 filters should cost less per filter than buying individual replacements. This is especially beneficial if you purchase filters online, since you may qualify for free shipping on orders over a certain amount.
How Often Should You Change the Filter?
Filters are rated for 90 days regardless of their size or rating. However, your needs may vary. For example, if you have a long-haired pet and you’re running the air conditioner constantly, you may only get 30-60 days out of your filter. Then again, during the spring and fall when you don’t run your HVAC equipment as much, you may last the full 90 days between changing the filter. Check it monthly and change it when the filter starts to look clogged.
For more information on choosing the right air filter replacements for your Central Arizona home, please contact us at Wolff Mechanical today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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