HVAC Air Filter 101

HVAC Air Filter 101Every day, you rely on your HVAC system to keep your family comfortable, but how often do you think about what is going on inside that air conditioner, where the air goes and how it functions? One important component of the modern HVAC system is the air filter. Here’s what you need to know about this critical piece of your HVAC system.

What Does the Air Filter Do?

As air travels through your HVAC system, it takes particles, dust and debris with it. The HVAC air filter traps much of that so it is not re-circulated through your home. This can help prevent dust and problems with allergies. The more efficient the air filter, the more effective it is at doing this job.

What Is a HEPA Rating?

Choosing the right HVAC air filter can feel confusing because of the different types available and the acronyms connected to them. One of those acronyms is HEPA, which stands for High Efficiency Particle Air. A HEPA filter has received recognition from OSHA and the EPA as being the best air filter for blocking particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.

What Does MERV Mean?

MERV is another acronym connected to air filters. The MERV rating means “minimum efficiency reporting value,” and this is a value the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers created to indicate the quality of the filter. It measures:

  • Particle removal
  • Airflow resistance
  • Filter’s expected operating life

The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter. Filters are rated from 1 to 20 with 20 being the highest.

Are Washable Filters Better?

Most air filters are made from fiberglass and are thrown away when they become full. Washable filters are made from metal and are rinsed when full. While this seems like a good, environmentally-friendly option, it comes at a cost. Most washable filters have very low MERV ratings.

If you have further questions about which air filter is best for your South Texas home, contact the HVAC technicians at CCAC for advice and help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Palto/Shutterstock”

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    David Mathewst David Mathews is the owner of CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating. A Corpus Christi native... More »