Are All Air Filters Created Equal?

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What is the best type of air filter for my unit?

You know that you need to change your HVAC unit filter regularly but when you head to the store to purchase one you may be overwhelmed by all of the options.  Here is a breakdown of what each type of filter has to offer so that you can pick the best one for your needs.

What is MERV, MPR, FPR?

First of all, different brands of filters use different numbers, names and rating systems.  The numbers let you know the amount of particles and pollutants that the filter will capture and hold.  The higher the number the more particles the filter collects.

  • MERV Rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value): Established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers, MERV rates a filter’s ability to capture and hold particles and pollutants. The numbers range from 1-12 for residential filters. The higher the number, the more collected.
  • MPR (Micro-Particle Performance Rating): rating system developed and used only by the 3M company that measures the amount of microparticles the filter captures that are smaller than 1 micron, the numbers range from 300-2800. Again, the higher the number the more particles captured.
  • FPR (Filter Performance Rating): rating system developed and used only by The Home Depot. It utilizes a color code and number scale (4 to 10) that is similar to the MERV rating.

 

Washable Air Filters

Air filters that are washable may seem like a more “green” option but overall are not recommended.  They have low MERV ratings and therefore do not trap as many particles.  The MERV rating for washable filters is usually between 1 and 4. They require additional maintenance as well.  Washable filters are also not recommended for homes with allergy sufferers.

 

Fiberglass Air Filters

The least expensive option, fiberglass air filters have the ability to trap larger air particles from your home but are not effective in capturing smaller pollutants and allergens. The MERV rating is typically between 1 and 4.  The air quality in your home will not be improved by using a fiberglass filter.  You will also need to replace them more often

 

Polyester and Pleated Air Filters

Polyester and pleated air filters are the most commonly used filters in homes.  They are extremely effective at trapping all types of particles from your home depending on the rating.  These filters capture and trap pollutants and particles without restricting airflow.  Pleated and polyester filters have a much higher MERV rating of 8 to 13 than their counterparts.  Readily available and easy to replace, pleated and polyester air filters are the best option for most homes, especially for those with allergy sufferers.

The next time you are in need of a filter replacement, you will know exactly what type is best for you.  Our air filters guide will help you determine the best time to replace your filters. Get on a seasonal maintenance agreement with us and we’ll take care of the rest, call the experts at Air Expo today for all of your HVAC maintenance needs.

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