What’s Your Air Filter IQ? Some Tips to Increase It

Air filter maintenance is one of the more important factors affecting the operation of your Cleveland area home’s cooling and heating systems, and one that you, as the homeowner, can likely handle on a DIY basis. Although the initial selection and installation of your system’s filter may require some assistance from a qualified HVAC technician, once you have determined the proper size and efficiency rating of each required filter, inspecting, changing (or cleaning in the case of some models) at regular intervals is something most people can do unassisted.

While it may be tempting to fit your HVAC system with the same type of filter it came with, this is probably a mistake. Manufacturers typically include a cheap low-efficiency air filter in their new equipment. These filters are capable Geisel 9.12.13of capturing larger particles (greater than 10 microns), which is enough to protect the equipment from dust and dirt that would impede performance, but they do little to improve indoor air quality.

Air filters are each assigned a MERV rating, short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Valve. Residential filters carry MERV ratings from 1 to 16, though the MERV scale extends to 20 for HEPA filters. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are ordinarily reserved for use in medical facilities or industrial settings where clean rooms are utilized. True HEPA filters are capable of capturing 99.97 percent of airborne particulate material 0.3 microns or larger in size.

HEPA filters may be found in certain residential applications such as vacuum cleaners, air cleaners and purifiers, although they’re generally not appropriate for use in home HVAC systems without serious system modifications. They produce a significant pressure drop that’s incompatible with most home heating/cooling units. For most homes, MERV 7-12 filters are generally recommended for their optimum mix of air cleaning and airflow maintenance.

For more than 75 years, Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing has served our Greater Cleveland area clients with distinction. Please contact us for more information on filtration or advice regarding any other indoor air quality/comfort needs.




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Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about A/C maintenanceand other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!   

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