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MERV Air Filter Ratings: Are You Choosing the Healthiest Filter for Your Home?

When it comes to ensuring their St. Petersburg air conditioning systems are working properly, many homeowners don’t realize just how important air filters are. Your air filter plays a vital role to ensure your air conditioner works as it should as well as in the air quality coming into your home.

Air filters should be changed every month, especially during the summer. Just as important as changing them, however, is the type of air filter used.

The Importance of Air Filters

What role do air filters really play in your home?

They are responsible for more than you might think:

  • They ensure air quality is at its highest in your home, filtering out dust and other allergens like bacteria, smog, smoke, and pet dander, which could be very irritating to the health of individuals who have allergies or are sensitive to dust.
  • They prevent dust from collecting on your air conditioning system’s evaporator coil. This coil is one of the AC’s four main components and is located inside the system’s air handler. Without proper airflow, this coil will be unable to function as it should, decreasing energy use by up to 15%.
  • Air filters that become clogged with dirt, dust, and dander must be changed frequently. If they are not, air flow is restricted to the rest of the unit. This can result in premature wear and tear, as your unit has to work harder than it should to keep the home cool. If the filter isn’t changed, the unit will most likely freeze up and the compressor may need to be replaced.

Choosing the Right Air Filter 

Once you understand just how important air filters are for a St. Petersburg air conditioning unit, choosing the right one is essential to ensuring your health and the function of the unit. When you go to purchase an air filter, you will notice that each one has a MERV rating.

This rating, which is an acronym for minimum efficiency reporting value, rates the effectiveness of the filter and its ability to trap dust or other particles. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with 16 providing the highest levels of filtration.

While it might make sense to always purchase a filter that has a MERV rating of 16, a higher rating doesn’t always necessarily mean better indoor air quality. There are a few other factors to consider as well.

  • When a filter is rated higher, the amount of air and the speed at which the air passes through the filter is significantly reduced. This means that over time, recirculation slows down, and less air is cleaned.
  • Highly rated filters can reduce the amount of airflow in a home, reducing the temperature and comfort level in the house.
  • When airflow is inadequate, a St. Petersburg air conditioning unit has to work harder, using more energy which can increase the amount you pay each month on your energy bills. It can also result in the condenser failing or freezing.

The air filter you choose for your home will depend on the type of unit you own. However, a good rule of thumb when starting out is to choose a low-rated filter.

Let this filter work for a few days and see how the quality of your indoor air is affected. If it is necessary, change the air filter out for one with a higher rating as needed until you find the rating that is the healthiest solution for you and the best functioning solution for your equipment.

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