3 things to consider when purchasing air filters

Indoor air quality is very important for everyone who lives in your home. Because we spend the majority of our waking hours inside, the air we breathe should be healthy. It should be free from dirt, pet dander, mold, pollen, smoke, and other potential toxins and contaminants as much as possible.

air filtersAir filters are a key component for many indoor heating and cooling systems. They effectively trap dirt, dust and other allergens and help keep fresh air circulating throughout the building. They should be replaced every month or two for maximum results.

There are many different sizes and models of individual air filters to choose from. You can go online to filterbuy and other sites to read about product specifications, features, and pricing. You can also read customer reviews to help with your buying decisions. Many air filters can be purchased online or at your local home improvement or specialty stores.

Here are three important things to keep in mind when buying air filters:

1. Quality

All air filters are given a rating from 1 to 20 based on the Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV for short. This is a standard that rates how effective each type of filter is at collecting dust, dirt particles, hair, and other potential contaminants. The higher the number is, the better it is at trapping pollutants. Most homes can support air filters with MERV ratings between 8 and 16. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that an air filter with the highest MERV rating is going to be the best for you.

A product with a MERV rating that’s too high for your particular system can put a greater strain on your system and eventually cause parts to overheat or break. Overheating can even cause a heat buildup in the heat exchanger, which can cause them to crack. Check your heating and cooling system’s owners manual for the compatibility of each filter that you are considering buying. There should be a list of brand name filters that will work well for your system.

2. Filter size

Pay close attention to the air filter size. You should see a three-digit number (example: 18x20x1) and three numbers that represent the actual filter size in length, width, and thickness. These numbers are measured in inches (example: 17.5″ x 19.5″ x .75″). If you don’t find these markings on your filter or online, you can take out a ruler and measure them yourself. Consult your heating and cooling system manual to find the correct size of an air filter to buy.

Some brands may have a foam gasket on the outside edge, so you’ll want to make sure the filters you purchase fit securely. If you use a filter that’s too small, you may end up spending valuable time and money in replacements. Filters that are too small or too big can also drastically affect your home’s airflow and the efficiency of your cooling and heating system.

3. Price

You shouldn’t have to spend big bucks for your air filters. Once you know what size filters will work with your system, take some time to compare and contrast different brands from different manufacturers. You want a quality product that gives you the best value for your money. Expensive doesn’t always mean better. However, don’t automatically go for the lowest-priced product, either. There may be some discount options, but keep in mind that you generally get what you pay for.

Cheaper air filters can save money in the short term, but gradually can be more expensive over time because they usually need to be replaced more often. Look for energy efficient products that won’t compromise air quality. They are usually offered at very affordable and competitive pricing at many retail outlets.

These are just some considerations for purchasing air filters for your house. Mark on your calendar when you replace each filter so you know when it’s time to replace them. Dirty filters can clog leave dirt, dust and other particles in your system and the vents, which means they’ll have to be maintained and cleaned more often than usual. Staying on top of your air filter maintenance can provide your home with cleaner air and fewer breathing problems. It allows you to focus on living happy, productive, pollution-free days in your home.