HVAC Filters Explained

When we think of doing maintenance on our home heating and air conditioning system the first thing to come to mind is changing the HVAC filters. Changing the air filter in your heating and air conditioning system is, of course, a very important part of keeping your heating and air conditioning system running efficiently. Not changing your air filter for extended periods of time can, in some cases, not only diminish the performance of your equipment, it could cause damage to your system.

Which HVAC Filters are Best?

Now, lets talk about HVAC filters and how to choose the right air filter for you! It is a common misconception that the air filter in your heating and air conditioning system is there to filter the air we breathe for us, the humans that live in the house. While there are filters on the market that claim to reduce the allergens in the air we breathe, the primary function of your air filter is to protect the components of your heating and air conditioning system from the dust and debris that is suspended in the air.

MERV Rating

A common rating for filter effectiveness is the MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The MERV scale is a scale that ranges from 1-16. The higher number the smaller the particles the filter will catch. While it may seem that bigger is better and we should all use a MERV 16 air filter to keep our air super clean, this is in fact could lead to trouble ! The more effective the filter is, the more restrictive to air flow the filter becomes. An Air filter that is too restrictive will lead to poor performance of your heating and air conditioning system, An air filter that does not filter small enough particles will leave our heating and air conditioning system exposed to excessive amounts of dirt and debris.


FIXED! HVAC Service recommends a filter with a rating of MERV 8-13. For the vast majority, a MERV 8 air filter is a good choice. If you suffer from allergies a higher rated filter may be for you. Just remember that a higher MERV rating will mean that your air filter we catch more dust and debris, so it will need to be replaced more often.

Remember, always consult the manufacturers guidelines when selecting the air filter for your home’s heating and air conditioning system.