Just like a car or coffee maker, filters in your A/C unit, air purifier, or heat pump are vital to those systems functioning properly. Without a properly cleaned filter, indoor air quality suffers and HVAC performance takes a turn for the worst. 

How Filters Work

Filters are usually made from pleated paper, cloth, or spun fiberglass, and are usually set into a cardboard frame. As air is taken into your HVAC appliances it passes through a filter. This filter helps trap and lock in contaminates and other airborne particles, improving the quality of the air circulating in your home. 

Filters trap:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Lint
  • Dirt and dust
  • Hair and fur
  • Bacteria
  • Metal or wood particles 

Efficiency and MERV Ratings

There are varying degrees of efficacy when it comes to filtration. Performance is typically rated by that filters’ minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV rating). MERV is rated from 1 to 16. The higher the number, the better the filtration. 

  • MERV 1-4: Basic filtration 
  • MERV 6-8: Good filtration, mostly in residential settings. 
  • MERV 9-12: Mid-range filtration. High quality, capturing particles as small as 1 micron.
  • MERV 13-16: Top-tier filtration, the best available. This rating can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. 

While the MERV scale goes higher than 16. Those types of filters often get bigger than is useful for your HVAC systems. Some HVAC systems are not meant to accommodate higher MERV rated filters. Check your equipments’ capabilities before installing a new filter. 

Filter Maintenance

Maintenance schedules with filters will depend on several factors, including the general air quality of your home, the types of filters you use, and how well your system operates. A good rule of thumb is to check monthly. Visibly soiled filters should be changed right away. 

Lifetime has over 20 years of industry experience, with up-to-date licensing and certifications. We are certified through North American Technician Excellence (NATE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

It is our mission to provide top-notch service and high quality installation. For more information about air filters and help choosing the right one for you, contact us at Lifetime Heating today!