The air filters of your home’s heating and cooling system have to be replaced regularly. However, a regular replacement schedule doesn’t mean you should use any poor quality filter you find in the market. Even though they have to be replaced, it’s still important that you get high-quality environment-friendly filters for your heating/cooling system. The best way to select filters is to check their efficiency rating, which is mentioned on the packaging.

The rating for air filters is determined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. The reporting value used to measure efficiency is called MERV’s (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the air filters are, meaning the particles have to be smaller to pass through them. The range is from 5 to 16. Mechanical filters are the most commonly used types of filters, some of which are mentioned below:

Fiberglass Filters

With a MERV rating between 1 and 4, fiberglass filters are not recommended. These filters are cheap and inexpensive, and are readily available at hardware stores. They have a record of stopping less than 10% pollutants from the air in your home. On the contrary, they are known to release harmful fiberglass fibers in the air of your house. These filters also wear out quite fast so you won’t get much value out of them.

Pleated Filters

Having an MERV rating between 10 and 13, pleated filters are a good choice if you are looking for cost-effective solutions. These filters are made from polyester fabrics that are tightly woven, and cost around $10 each. They have an efficiency rating of removing 45% of pollutants from the air and are known for catching more harmful air particles due to their larger surface area.

HEPA Filters

HEPA or High Efficiency Particle Arresting filters have an MERV rating between 14 and 16, which makes these filters highly recommendable. They are like pleated filters but since they have more pleats, they have a higher efficiency rate and can remove as much as 85% pollutants from the air. These filters can capture tiny particles and some of them are even coated with chemicals that can kill microbes, mold and bacteria. If you want the best, these are the filters you should go for.

Reusable Washable Filters

Reusable and washable filters are also available in the market, but they have a low MERV rating and aren’t recommended at all. Also, they aren’t the best when it comes to maintaining healthy air quality, allowing bacteria and dirt to pass through them. Moreover, cleaning and washing these filters repeatedly can also be time-consuming. These filters are definitely the worst choice you can make.

So, make sure you get the best filters for your house and don’t pick up a cheap filter just because you have to replace them regularly.

This article was provided by American AC Heat Plumbing. Since 1981, American Air has been providing professional air conditioning and heating service and repair. Check out their $99 tune-up special – good for your air conditioner or furnace!


James Smith

As you can tell from our humble beginnings in 1981, we began as a family-owned business and stayed a locally owned air conditioning and heating company in Los Angeles county for nearly 40 years.