The furnace filter is crucial to your indoor air quality and heating efficiency. Furnace filters come in different shapes, and what is right for one household is not necessarily the best for another household. Below are some of the major concerns to help you get the right filter.
The filter cleans the air that goes into the furnace, and this is the same air you breathe. Thus, the type of filter you use determines the size of the pollutants in the air you breathe. Don't forget that you cannot have air that is a hundred percent clean — all you can do is to minimize the pollutants.
Go with a high MERV if you have health concerns that demand the cleanest air possible. Examples of such health concerns include asthma, lung problems, or heart problems. The elderly can also benefit from ultra-clean air since old age often comes with myriad health conditions.
Air filters with high MERV have tiny holes that trap particles bigger than the holes. However, the tiny holes also mean the filters do not allow as much air to flow through them as filters with low MERV. With a restricted airflow, the furnace has to struggle to get adequate air circulating in the house. Your furnace's energy consumption goes up if it has to struggle to keep your house warm.
Thus, the energy efficiency also matters. Avoid the high MERV filters if you want to get the best energy efficiency from your furnace.
As mentioned above, your furnace's energy efficiency goes up if you install a high-efficiency filter. However, energy inefficiency is not the only side effect of restrictive airflow. An overworking furnace experiences accelerate wear and tear.
The wear and tear not only shortens the furnace's useful life, but it also leads to frequent breakdowns. You might have to depend on shorter maintenance schedules if you opt for the highest MERV available to keep your system running.
You won't find a filter that can give you everything you want. You have to compromise on an area or two. Assess your expectations and needs and choose a filter that will meet your priority list. Alternatively, you can get an average filter that can give you a balance of ruggedness, energy efficiency, and clean air. According to familyhandyman.com, most homeowners will do fine with a MERV rating of 7 or 8.
To get help selecting the right filter, contact an HVAC company.