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What to Consider When Buying Air Filters?


Your heating and cooling costs likely comprise a significant portion of your monthly electricity bill. However, the success of the complete HVAC system can be attributed to a single component: the air filter.

What is an Air Filter?

Typically, air filters are constructed out of spun fiberglass, the same material used in the insulation of your attic, or pleated paper framed with cardboard for stability and rigidity. They are installed in a predetermined location inside your home’s return air duct (usually a large drop-down vent in your hallway or other places in your home).

Air filters, like the 20x20x1 air filter, prevent impurities from entering your HVAC system or circulating through the air. Most filters are constructed to exclude a wide variety of particles, including dust, dirt, pet hair, lint, mold, and bacteria. Air filters often have a MERV, which stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value.”

What is MERV?

An air filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating indicates how efficiently the filter prevents dust and other impurities from passing through the filter and entering the air stream. Filters with higher MERV ratings are more able to eliminate the presence of minute particles than filters with lower MERV values.

For air filtration in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in homes, businesses, and general hospitals, filters with a rating of MERV 16 or lower are considered appropriate. Filters with MERV ratings between 17 and 20 are frequently utilized in surgical operating rooms, clean rooms, and other environments that demand the highest level of sterility.

Things to Consider When Buying Air Filters

The following should be considered if you’re in the market for an air filter.


Because the diameters of the returns in homes vary, it is imperative that you visually verify the dimensions of your filter.


Consider purchasing a washable air filter if the notion of disposing of your air filter every two weeks is too much for you to bear. This alternative is better for the environment, despite the possibility that it will involve additional effort.

Using a washable air filter is also useful because it allows you to save money on air filters and change them whenever you desire. Cleaning your air filter more consistently will improve the overall air quality inside your house.


One of the best ways to evaluate the effectiveness of an air filter is to look at its pleats. The more pleats an air filter has, the greater the likelihood it will remove air pollutants from the air circulating inside a building. If you cannot locate the MERV rating anywhere on the packaging of the air filter, one alternative is to look for a filter with a high number of pleats per foot.

Take Away

If you want to live in a comfortable home that is also free of pollutants, you need air filters of good quality. Wide varieties of filters are available on the market today, each catering to a particular set of requirements regarding the purity of the air. These filters can be found in various sizes and offer differing degrees of efficiency.

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