The filter of your Pensacola, Florida, heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit is the first line of defense in keeping airborne particulates out of the system. When filters get dirty, pollutants are deposited on coils and other parts of the unit. When this happens, HVAC efficiency drops, and the unit uses more energy to operate.

What most people don’t know is that standard HVAC filters are designed to protect the heating and cooling system. They are not designed to improve indoor air quality. However, there are better quality filters that can be used in HVAC units to improve indoor air quality.

Air Filter Effectiveness

Air filter effectiveness is measured by the minimum efficiency reporting value. The MERV scale standardizes the particle size and contaminants that filters catch. The scale ranges from 1 to 20, with 1 being the least effective and 20 the most effective.

Contaminants Removed by MERV Filters

The higher the MERV number, the smaller the pores of the filter. Smaller pores capture smaller particulates. Filters rated between 1 and 4 offer minimal filtration. Filters rated 16 and above are often used in controlled settings such as clean rooms, hospitals, and pharmaceutical laboratories. Values between 16 and 20 are equivalent to high efficiency particulate filters, known as HEPA filters.

Filters rated between 8 and 13 are suitable for most household needs. These filters capture pollutants as small as 1 micron in size, such as milled flour and Legionella bacteria. Most household pollutants are larger and include animal dander, cockroach droppings and body parts, dust mites, mold spores, pollen and textile fibers.

Determining the Proper Filter Rating

The small pores of higher-rated filters affect the flow of air through an HVAC system. If the filter creates too much resistance, a unit may not perform properly. It is important that a certified HVAC professional evaluate your system and recommend the highest-rated HVAC filter that will allow maximum airflow, if you don’t know what the manufacturer recommends.

All Seasons Service Network offers high-efficiency air filters and other indoor air quality products that work with HVAC systems. To find out more about which MERV-rated air filter will work best with your unit, contact one of our technicians at 850-637-8479.