Air Filters Trap Particles, But What Size Do You Need Removed from Your Long Island Home?

Experts usually agree that the two most important aspects of properly maintaining your Long Island home’s heating and cooling system are:Air Filters Trap Particles, But What Size Do You Need Removed from Your Long Island Home?

  1. Annual (or semi-annual) tune-ups from an HVAC professional
  2. Proper selection, installation and regular cleaning or replacing of your system’s air filters

The easiest way to handle the first of the above-noted requirements is to sign up with a trusted HVAC service company under one of their annual maintenance plans. Not only will this keep your heating and cooling equipment in top running order but usually includes other benefits such as loyalty discounts or priority service scheduling.

Fortunately, air filter installation and maintenance is something most homeowners can handle on a do-it-yourself basis. Your heating or cooling equipment’s owner’s manual should have the needed size information and recommended MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating that’s best for air filters used in your equipment. Most professionals recommend a filter with a MERV rating of between 9-12.

The MERV standard runs from 1-16 for residential filters, with each higher number denoting higher efficiency at trapping decreasingly smaller-sized airborne particulate. As the rating numbers increase, so does the airflow resistance of the corresponding air filters. This is because the filtering media get more sophisticated and/or denser with higher-efficiency air filters. MERV 1-4 filters, while allowing for plenty of airflow, only trap particles larger than 10 microns. This includes dust mites, carpet and textile fibers and pollen.

MERV 5-8 air filters are efficient for particles 3.0 microns or larger, which include everything lower-efficiency filters can capture plus mold spores and particles from hair spray, cleaning and fabric sprays. MERV 9-12 filters are considered superior for home use. They can filter down to 1.0 micron (fine dust, welding fumes, vehicle emissions and Legionella) and still should provide enough airflow for your HVAC system to run efficiently.

If someone in your home suffers from asthma or other breathing difficulties, a MERV 13-16 filter may be needed. However, you should consult your HVAC professional to ensure your equipment will tolerate the decreased airflow. Your system may require modification before using these high-rated filters.

Cool Power, LLC has been a highly regarded HVAC and appliance service provider on Long Island since 1975. Contact us for all of your indoor air comfort needs.




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Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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