An HVAC filter is a necessary component of any heating or cooling system. The type of air filter you choose will vary based on the specifications of your furnace or air conditioner and the needs in your home. This guide will help you find the right filter for your Sarasota, Florida, home.

Compare Disposable vs. Washable Air Filters

Most HVAC systems use disposable air filters to keep the air clean in your home. Your disposable filter should be replaced as part of your maintenance routine at least once every three months. You should check the filter once a month for visible dust and dirt. If the filter is dirty, you need to change it to get optimum efficiency and performance from your filter.

A washable air filter like the Trane Perfect Fit air filter is reusable. You wash these filters yourself when they become clogged and replace them in the system. This eliminates the expense of purchasing new air filters four or more times a year. However, a reusable air filter is a bigger upfront investment. Either choice will filter pollutants from the air. The size and type of pollutants that your filter will capture is dependent on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. Ratings vary for reusable and disposable filters.

Check Filter MERV Ratings

Every air filter comes with a MERV rating between 1 and 20. Flat filters have MERV ratings between one and four. These are among the most inefficient filters on the market. They will capture large, visible particles but cannot stop smaller microscopic pollutants in the air. If you upgrade to a pleated filter, you’ll enjoy a MERV rating between five and seven. This can capture up to 90 percent of airborne particles, compared to the 65 to 75 percent efficiency you’re looking at with a flat filter.

A MERV rating higher than eight may require a more advanced HVAC system design. It’s important to have a furnace and air conditioner that are powerful enough to pull air through the fine fabric of your filter. The more efficient a filter is, the harder it becomes for the system to pull air through. Check your manufacturer’s specifications to find out how high you can go with your MERV rating. Stay at the upper end for your system to get the best efficiency, indoor air quality, and performance possible.

Consider Air Cleaners

If you’re interested in going above and beyond an air filter, you should explore the capabilities of dedicated air cleaners. A product like the Trane CleanEffects Air Cleaner can remove as much as 99.98 percent of particles from the air, stopping contaminants as small as 0.1 micron.

This whole-home system will help you improve indoor air quality throughout your space more efficiently than with a filter alone. An air cleaner is particularly well-suited for a home with asthma or allergy sufferers. When a standard filter isn’t enough for your home, add another indoor air quality system to take breathability to a whole new level.

Explore Your Needs

Good filtration is important for any home. The filter in your HVAC system stops dust, pet hair, dander, dust mites, and other pollutants, which can collect in your air ducts and HVAC components. Keeping the air filter clean will extend the life of your system, help it run efficiently, and minimize your repair needs. Combine regular filter changes with professional maintenance visits for the best results.

While you will always benefit from using a good filtration system, a higher MERV rating and advanced filtration solutions are more important for homes with children, pets, elderly family members, and anyone who is sensitive to irritants and allergens. If this applies to you, it’s worth the extra effort and investment to get the best filter you can afford.

If you’d like to learn more about choosing the right filter or indoor air quality system for your home, just give Arctic Air Services, Inc. a call at 941-203-7062. We can help you explore the unique requirements of your home and find the best solution for your needs.

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