Air filters are indispensable components of the air conditioning units of modern homes. Most homeowners do not mind taking care of a big utility bill regarding the expenses of internal air conditioning. But they remain blissfully unaware of the importance of AC filters. However, this apparatus is what keeps you entire internal air-purifying system humming, so, a dirty or generally ill-equipped filtration unit can wreak havoc!
What to Expect from a Well-Performing AC Filter
First things first, know in detail the importance of the filters in the air-conditioning ensemble. Besides adjusting the room temperature, your home air-conditioning is responsible for removing pollutants like dust and particles from the air and thus making it suitable for your breathing. As a responsible home-owner, if you are concerned about the respiratory health of your family, you need to focus on the efficiency of the air filter apparatus.
Sometimes, an old air-conditioning system may turn unfit for use due to restricted airflow in its clogged up filter. Take it as an immediate call for cleaning or changing the part before it eventually leads to a breakdown.
Additionally, a well-performing filter should also save costs for you in comparison to low-grade ac-filters. The proper ones need less frequent replacement and also use better quality filter material like fiberglass and pleated filters, which are good for removing particles within a shorter span than the low grade materials in use.
It is to be noted that while low-grade air filters demand replacement within 3 months of regular use, the top-notch articles in the market can run up to 12 months of regular use and guaranteed great performance! Another factor that might affect the performance quality of your air filter in the area you live in. If your surroundings are prone to accumulate a lot of dust and mire, it is always better to choose a high-rated, high-performing filter for your home AC.
Now that you know what to expect, let’s find out about the features of home filters that you can’t do without–
Thickness- the Thicker the Better!
Upon testing airflow resistance, Consumer Reports- the body which tests air filters for homes, found out that the thicker the walls of the filter, it is the better. For sieving out dust, pollen, and smoke from the air, you would require filters that are at least 1 -inch thick. However, you can also find filters in the market which have a thickness of 2-5 inches.
Thicker filters decontaminate and process the air being passed through its folds more efficiently. In addition, the material thickness of ac filters proves to be great for withstanding the wear and tear from regular usage. This is how, by choosing a thicker and better-performing filter, you can save up on maintenance and replacement costs in a big way.
Point to be noted here, if you are choosing to replace your old filter with a thicker version for better performance and ease, ask your handyman to confirm good compatibility first. You may have to make a few alterations to the ductwork to fit a thicker system fitted inside.
Higher MERV Rating Is a Good Sign
MERV denotes the minimum efficiency reporting value, as maintained as a standard of value for electrical goods by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers. This rating system was developed to indicate the effectiveness of air filters in removing fine particles and dust from the air. The rating generally varies between 0 and 20, and for high-quality performance, rate 15 or above is recommended.
Choosing below rate 15 will not fully satisfy the requirement of air purification but the percentage of airborne particles and dust will surely reduce.
MPR Rating of 1900 or Above
Another technical aspect that you need to familiarize with when buying air filters is the MPR rate or Micro-Particle Performance rating. This had been developed by 3M Filtrete which effectively indicates how well the filter can resist particles between 0.3 and 1-micron size.
Fine dust is an underestimated aspect of air pollution inside homes that can cause great unease and subsequent damage to asthma patients. If your surroundings are dusty or right in the middle of an urban setting, it’s natural that there are a lot of fine particles in the air that you cannot simply vacuum clean.
We recommend buying a filter with 1900 MPR or above to ensure complete and effective purification from microscopic dust morsels between 0.3 and 1 µm. High MPR filters not only ensure freedom from infinitesimal airborne particles but also in the process, reduces the chance of nesting bacteria, viruses, and dust mites. Staving off allergic reactions for those with reactive airway diseases begins from this step of choosing a high-MPR filter for your home AC.
FPR or Filter Performance Rating for Extra Assurance
This rating system is unique to Home Depot. On a scale of 1- 10, the filtration apparatuses of electronic products you are buying from Home Depot HVAC brands are rated to indicate purified air from different kinds of fine particles. HVAC filters with an FPR of 4 or above are considered the ‘good’ filters, while FPR of 10 is given a whole new class of ‘premium’ filters.
You can expect an above 4 FPR filter to absorb the following microns and particulate matter-
- Pet dander
- Lint and dust
- Dust mites
As for FPR 7 filters of higher potential, removal of additional particulate matter can be achieved-
- Microbial growth
You can opt to choose even higher FPR for your AC filters if the need arises for neutralizing woodfire smoke inside the house. HVAC air filters with FPR 9 effectively take care of smoke, virus carriers, and microscopic allergens. The highest order of FPR is the rate 10 and filters having this rating are adapted for semi-indoor environments where there are odor and smog. The FPR rating values are way broader than MPR or MERV values, so if you are a new HVAC owner looking for a quality sign to trust, this is it!
HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air
HEPA featured appliances have an electrostatic filter which utilizes an electrical charge to trap and absorb particles. HEPA is also known to minimize the dust blown through heating systems.
Good luck making an informed buying choice for your air filter this summer!