Don’t Forget to Check and Change Your HVAC System’s Air Filters!

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Don’t Forget to Check and Change Your HVAC System’s Air Filters!

Bloomfield Cooling Heating and Electric Air Filter CleaningAs we begin scheduling routine fall maintenance visits with our customers to prepare their HVAC systems for heating season, we want to bring air filters—and their importance—to your attention.

Air filters are a powerful line of defense against allergens and pollutants that can circulate in your home. They help clean your indoor air to keep dust, pollen, mold spores, and other microorganisms out of your indoor environment. There are various types of air filters, and they all have what’s called a MERV rating.

What is MERV?
MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. This HVAC industry standard rates the filter’s ability to capture airborne particles based on those particles’ size.

Some MERV fast facts:

  • The filters are rated on a scale from 1 to 16 but there are specialty filters that go higher for certain applications (see below).
  • This rating is based on a filter’s ability to capture particles that are between 0.3 and 10 microns in size.
  • The higher the rating, the more effective the air filter is at capturing particles that are smaller than the 0.3-10-micron range.
  • The MERV rating also indicates whether the filter’s capacity rate is between 84.9% and 90% which is a significant difference.
  • In residential settings (and many commercial buildings), a MERV rating of 8 to 13 provides sufficient filtration.
    • Allergy sufferers or those with respiratory conditions will likely find the MERV 11-to-13 range more beneficial, as those will capture more particles smaller than 0.3 microns (such as smoke and smog, pet dander, and some airborne bacteria). A MERV 13 also captures bacteria and viruses that are spread through airborne droplets.
    • For homeowners with sensitivities to airborne allergens and concerns about bacteria and viruses, we also recommend installing an in-duct or whole home air purifier.
  • For commercial properties with a lot of foot traffic, a MERV 13 offers strong protection for building occupants and visitors.
    • If your property is a medical services building or office, you may need MERV 14-16; surgical spaces that require the highest possible air filtration should install MERV 17-20 filters.

Selecting the best MERV rating filter for your home
Although an air filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 is fine for most homes, you should talk to your HVAC service provider or installer about your specific needs. For example:
1 – Do you have pets? If so, a MERV 11 filter (at least) is a smart choice, because it will capture pet dander.
2 – Does someone smoke in the home or suffer with asthma or allergies? A MERV 13 is a better choice.
3 – How is the outdoor air quality? Think of all the people dealing with wildfires and the environmental hazards those are presenting in certain areas. Homeowners or businesses located in congested urban areas with lots of traffic and truck exhaust deal with environmental challenges that those living in seaside areas never contend with. Rural dwellers do well with MERV 8 while others need a higher MERV rated filter.

The higher the MERV rating, the more tightly woven the filters to capture harmful pollutants and pathogens. However, your HVAC system needs adequate air flow to operate properly. At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, we recommend a MERV 8 to 13 filter; we will guide you on the best MERV rating for your needs (and discuss air purification options), so that your home or business is properly heated and cooled—and your family or team are well protected.

Contact Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric today for your fall maintenance system checkup—which includes changing out your air filters to keep your furnace and central air conditioner working at their best. We’re always happy to answer your questions about air filtration and all the other HVAC services we provide.

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