Selecting the right air filter for your Salt Lake City home Published on February 06, 2015 Trying to select the right air filter for your Salt Lake City home can be a daunting experience. Which brand is best? Is the more expensive products worth the investment? These are just two of many of the questions that make purchasing air filters for your home mind-boggling. Let Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning attempt to resolve your home air filter questions and allow you to continue enjoying the comfort of your home without concern. Here’s an easy way to tell how efficient your old filter is (NOTE: Do this outdoors or with something below the filter so you don’t end up with a mess): Set the filter horizontally, then taking everyday table salt, start pouring the salt through the filter then see the amount comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can imagine that the filter will let dust pass through as well. You really should upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient. There are 3 primary considerations when choosing a household air filter; Size, Material and MERV rating. 1) Filter Size Purchasing a properly sized air filter for your Salt Lake City home is important. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. Typically home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a numerous standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters. 2) Material & MERV Rating MERV ratings are the efficiencies of the filter on a scale of 16. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number identifies for the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to hold contaminants. As a basic example, these are some usual MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when buying specific filters. Rating Average Filtration Efficiency MERV 1-4 60-80% Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive) MERV 5-8 80-95% Pleated, Media panel, Cube MERV 9-12 >95% Extended pleated MERV 13-16 >98% Electronic Be Careful About High MERV Ratings While a higher MERV number may offer better filtration efficiency, it is extremely important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your heating and air conditioning system. The higher the MERV, the less the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your goal is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency. Consider it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would equivalent to a piece of plywood that would just trap ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Salt Lake City home. That's maximum air filtration, but would also be like living in a box. The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used based upon the advice of your Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning technician to confirm your system has the capability of moving the correct quantity of air through higher efficiency filters. You normally do not want to lose energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family has allergies or respiratory problems and a high MERV rated filter is required, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will satisfy your energy and filter efficiency needs. Filtration has changed considerably over the past several years. Initially, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to safeguard the comfort equipment itself. The story is different today. Salt Lake City area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a whole host of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!