If you have ever stood in the aisle of a home-improvement store trying to decipher the ratings printed on a furnace filter, you know that finding the right filter for your home can be complicated. A number of factors go into determining a filter’s effectiveness and efficiency. Understanding these factors can help you select a filter that will improve your indoor air quality while maximizing your furnace’s performance.
Many homeowners are familiar with the MERV system; the higher a filter’s MERV rating (or minimum efficiency rating value), the smaller the particles the filter is able to trap. Other important factors include initial and sustained efficiency, pressure drop and dust-holding capacity:
- Initial efficiency refers to the filter’s efficiency when it’s brand-new. Perhaps surprisingly, filters are not necessarily at their most efficient when they are first installed. Some become more efficient as they become partially filled with material.
- Sustained efficiency refers to the efficiency that the filter maintains over its entire period of use.
- Pressure drop. Pressure drop measures how much the filter restricts airflow, helping to determine its effect on your heating system’s efficiency. Filters with higher pressure drops restrict airflow more, potentially reducing the overall effectiveness of your heating system, whereas lower pressure drops have less of an effect on airflow.
- Dust-holding capacity. Dust-holding capacity measures the amount of dust a filter can hold at a specific pressure drop.
By taking all of these factors into consideration, you can select a filter for your home that will remove the greatest number of contaminants from the air while having the lowest possible effect on airflow and efficiency. When selecting a filter, consider your objectives for your own unique home and living situation. Consider how the right filter can address particular problems: Does someone in your family suffer from health problems that might be related to air quality? Is your home excessively dusty?
If you live in Northern Indiana or Southwest Michigan and would like to learn more about furnace filter ratings, contact us at Home Comfort Experts.
Home Comfort services the Mishawaka/South Bend areas of Indiana.