It’s a big mistake to assume that all furnace filters are the same. Furnace filters come with radically different efficiency levels, as well as a variety of filtering methods. How well your filter removes airborne particulates can have a significant effect on furnace operation, as well as indoor air quality. But how does one go about comparing furnace filters?
Comparing Furnace Filters
You can either compare furnace filters by the technology they employ or by their efficiency rating as provided, for example, by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale.
A basic flat-panel fiberglass filter removes only the largest dust particles from the air. It will protect your furnace components, but won’t clean your air as well. A pleated flat-panel filter has folded filtration media with more surface area to capture particulates. These do a moderately good job of cleaning the air.
Electrostatic filters employ a slight electrical charge to attract dust particles and remove them from the air. Filters that employ activated carbon can remove both dust particles and fumes, as well as odors from pets and chemicals. The gold standard of air filtration – high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) – can remove nearly all airborne particulates, but may require significant system modifications to ensure its ultra-efficient design doesn’t impede system airflow.
The MERV Scale
The MERV scale ranks filters by efficiency, with the higher numbers denoting better efficiency. MERV 1-4 filters are the cheapest flat-panel models. As the numbers rise toward 20, you’ll find pleated filters, box filters and eventually HEPA filters (MERV 17-20). For most residences, a filter in the 8-12 range can provide an ideal marriage of efficient air cleaning and adequate airflow maintenance. Ask your HVAC specialist for advice on what style of filter is best for your needs.
Whatever type of filter you choose for your Calgary home, make sure you inspect it monthly and replace it when it gets dirty. This will help keep your furnace operating smoothly and reliably.
To further compare furnace filters, please contact Arpi’s Industries, Ltd. in the Calgary area today.
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