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How To Find The Top HVAC Filters For Your AC Unit

When it comes to HVAC air filters, you’ve probably heard that you should replace them every month. Why? To achieve optimal efficiency, your HVAC system should be carefully maintained. The air filter is one of the most crucial and sometimes perplexing components of an HVAC system. Your residential air filter supplier has probably mentioned that not HVAC air filters are the same. Today, I am here along with Custom Filters Direct to guide you in finding the top HVAC filters for your AC.

Types Of Air Filters

Air filters come at different sizes, materials, and prices.

  • Flat-Panel Filters: consist of stretched fibres, usually fibreglass, over a framework. They’re disposable and easy to install, however their low-quality lets particles through.
  • Disposable Pleated Filters: absorb airborne particles using cotton or plastic fibre screens. Unlike flat-panel filters, it contains pleats that allow for an increase in filtering surface area and collects more particles.
  • Electrostatic Filters: Some air filters are electrostatically charged to trap pollen, smoke, and microorganisms. They could be flat or pleated, disposable or washable.
  • Washable Filters: are more environmentally friendly than disposable filters, but there’s a catch. These HVAC air filters lose their electrostatic charge with time, causing them to absorb fewer particles.
  • HEPA Filters: consistently remove 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger. Even while they’re most often used in industrial locations that require clean air, including hospitals and labs, they can also be used in homes when people have allergies or compromised immune systems.

MERV Ratings

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a measurement of an HVAC air filter’s ability to remove air particles. It can detect particles as small as 0.3 microns and as large as 10 microns in the air. It employs a scale of 1 to 20, with 20 denoting the best filtering performance for tiny particles.

  • MERV 1-4

The most basic filters are those with a MERV rating of 1 to 4. It is the most affordable option on the market. Large particles such as pet hair, carpet fibres, and heavy dust can be filtered out using these filters. This type of filter is preferred by many homeowners since it extends the life of the HVAC unit. Passing air through the filter does not put too much load on the unit. As a result, the HVAC unit will function more efficiently.


  • MERV 5-7

HVAC air ilters in this category may filter out midsize particles of 3 to 10 microns such as pollens and mould spores, giving your furnace and AC filter a boost. However, in terms of price and availability, filters in this range are not practical. When compared to the MERV 1 to 4 basic filters, there is no discernible difference.


  • MERV 8-13

If you’re more concerned about indoor air quality, MERV 8 to 13 is the most recommended range for furnace and air conditioner filters. Fine particles such as smoke, germs, and anything larger than 3.0 microns are best removed by filters in this range. These residential HVAC filters can help people with respiratory problems by filtering allergens. As a result, this is the greatest filter for your home’s HVAC system.


  • MERV 14-16

These are commercial HVAC filters designed specifically for hospitals, businesses, and industrial settings. They are the most expensive and should not be used at home. Aside from being prohibitively pricey, the filter is incompatible with the household’s HVAC system. It can block airflow, putting the HVAC unit under stress and perhaps causing damage.

How Do You Pick A Filter Based On Its Merv Rating?

The best filter for your home’s HVAC system should have a MERV rating of 8 to 13 for medium efficiency. These filters are capable of removing up to 90% of dust, pollen, smoke, and other pollutants. They can help relieve some respiratory illnesses by filtering out bacteria and airborne viruses. They will not limit airflow in your AC and will improve indoor air quality.

Clean Air Delivery Rate

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), a scale established by the Federal Trade Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency for measuring air purifier efficiency, is another method of rating. Similar to MERV, greater particle removal performance corresponds to greater numbers. The majority of filters lie between 12 CADR and 240 CADR, while certain high-performance filters can reach 1,200 CADR.

How Can I Select The Most Effective Air Filter For My Home?

Start by evaluating the unique demands of your home’s occupants, which should be directly related to the CADR or MERV ratings of your air filters. When it comes to filtering out allergens, pets, dust, or bacteria, filters with a higher MERV rating are the best choice.


HVAC air filters can be useful, but don’t go overboard. Your home’s heating and cooling efficiency can be diminished if your HVAC system can’t push air through restrictive filters with a high MERV or CADR rating. Overworked HVAC systems might fail, requiring expensive repairs. Consult your HVAC manual or consult a Custom Filters Direct representative to learn its power.

After choosing a rating range, also consider your budget. Disposable fibreglass filters start at $5, but washable filters may save you money over time. Finally, your HVAC system’s ventilation opening and service area will determine the filter size you need. Thickness doesn’t affect CADR or MERV ratings.

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