There are many different types of air filters for air conditioners and furnaces. Each type has its own benefits and will capture airborne particles based upon the size of the particulate. The most common are those 99 cent filters found at the hardware store. Most of these are designed to keep foreign objects from reaching the blower motor. If you can see through the filter, they will not provide adequate filtration against dust and allergens such as pollen and mold. A simple upgrade is the 1” pleated filter. The pleats increase the filter surface area offering less pressure drop while increasing filter efficiency. Well, how do you tell what makes a filter efficient? The method to which a filter is rated is referred to its MERV rating.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, commonly known as MERV Rating is a measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The scale is designed to represent the worst case performance of a furnace filter when dealing with particles in the range of 0.3 to 10 micrometers. The MERV rating is from 1 to 16. Higher MERV ratings correspond to a greater percentage of particles captured on each pass, with a MERV 16 filter capturing more than 95% of particles over the full range.
For those that have allergies or if indoor air quality is a concern, consider HEPA type filters for your home. According to Bill Lea, President of FiltersAmerica.com, “The letters in the word HEPA stand for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. The HEPA filter was developed during World War II by the Atomic Energy Commission and it was designed to remove and capture radioactive dust particles from the air which might escape and present a health hazard to the researchers. The HEPA filter was specifically designed to protect the Human Respiratory System.”
For a filter to be labeled "True" HEPA, it must be certified 99.97% efficient in capturing 0.3 micron (not 0.1 or 0.01 etc...) respirable-size-particles (RSP) according to the U.S. Military Standard MIL-STD-282, commonly known as the DOP test. The reason 0.3 micron is used and no other is because 0.3 micron is the size at which all mechanical filters are LEAST efficient in capturing. Other methods of testing do not give a true picture of efficiencies relative to respirable-size-particle (RSP) capture.
These pleated air filters can be anywhere from 4" to 6" thick and may have a MERV rating greater than 10. These types of filters fit into a special box that is sold to consumers as an "add-on" or upgrade to their furnace or air handler. Many homeowners have upgraded their ventilation system with the popular Aprilaire Air Cleane. These filters are ideal for allergy sufferers as they remove very small particles such as pollen.
Many households including condominiums have what is referred to as “return grill filters” or fan coil filters. Some of these filters may be washable however they may not offer the same efficiency as a pleated filter. Consumers are finding another alternative to their 1” thick filter and that is the replacement electronic air cleaner that fits into existing 1” filter rack without modifications. Offered by FiltersAmerica.com, the Dynamic Air Cleaner installs quickly and captures over 97% of airborne particles .3 microns in size. Keith Kubik, the Vice-President of Marketing for FiltersAmerica.com went on to say, “Whatever the size, style or manufacturer, FiltersAmerica.com is the one-stop-shop for indoor air quality products for consumers. We buy in volume and pass the savings on to the consumer with fast delivery direct to their doorstep. ”
Founded in 2001, Filters America specializes upon indoor air quality bringing value to consumers with great prices and exceptional service. Learn more about indoor air quality at www.FiltersAmerica.com