The air in the typical home is one of the top five environmental hazards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Your Omaha home’s air contains particles such as bacteria, viruses, mold spores and pollen. There are many ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality, but your first defense against these particles is a clean HVAC air filter. You should check your filter every month and swap it for a clean one when you can no longer see through it.
Choosing an Air Filter
Understanding the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, scale is essential to choosing a filter that will meet your indoor air quality needs. Air filters are given a rating between 1 and 20 on the MERV scale, with higher numbers denoting a better filter that will trap more and smaller particles in your home’s air.
- MERV 1-4 filters are flat and inexpensive. Their primary purpose is to prevent large particles from entering your HVAC system, which can cause the premature failure of essential components. These filters trap particles larger than 10 microns and won’t do much to improve your indoor air quality.
- MERV 5-8 filters are pleated to trap more particles and will remove those as small as 3 microns, including hair spray and mold spores. They’re sufficient for most residential air quality needs.
- MERV 9-12 filters are of the highest quality for residential systems, trapping particles as small as 1 micron, including lead dust and Legionella. If anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, these filters will help alleviate symptoms.
- MERV 13-20 filters are generally only used in commercial buildings and hospitals. Because of their thickness and density, they will impede the flow of air to residential systems, possibly causing overheating and other serious damage.
Check the specifications of your system to determine what type of air filter it will accommodate. It’s essential to balance airflow with air cleaning capabilities when choosing a filter.