Choosing the right air filter for your home is more complex than simply finding one that fits your system and your budget. How do you know the filter you choose will be adequate for your needs? How do you know what’s a good-quality filter vs. one that will only lead to more headaches? However, we want to make this decision easier, so to help you make a better-educated choice here are some of the key factors you need to take into consideration.

Filter Type

There are different types of filters available on the market. Most are single-use disposable-type filters, while others are made from a material that can be cleaned and reused again and again for years. While both of these solutions work, you should always try to get a filter that has as many folds as possible to give you the most surface area. The more surface area air can pass over and through, the more air your filter is going to be able to clean. This also means your filter will last longer as well before needing replacement.

MERV Rating

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which essentially means how well a filter does its job—removing contaminants from the air. This also has a huge impact on energy efficiency and the amount of strain a filter can place on your air conditioner: a higher MERV rating will filter out more dirt and debris but also require a much more powerful blower to pull air through the filter. Lower MERV ratings will let more dirt and contaminants through but are less strenuous on your systems.

Naturally, most people are inclined to think that higher MERV values are always better, but this isn’t always true. If your system isn’t designed to work with a filter that has a MERV rating of 16, you probably will do considerable damage to it by trying to use one in it. Likewise, filters with a high MERV rating are expensive, and because of their high filtering capability, they tend to clog up faster than any other filter type, which means you’ll be replacing them a lot more. Unless you need your home to be as clean and sanitary as a hospital quarantine room, you probably don’t need one this strong.


Finally, there’s the question of cost. Generally, paper or fiberglass filters will be the cheapest because they can be mass-produced with ease, and are often sold in packages of a dozen or more units. Odds are you’ll buy one package and be set for at least a few years. However, you can also opt to purchase a reusable filter that can be washed out, dried, and reinstalled to be used again. These filters will generally last several years all on their lonesome. While they’re more expensive, they may save you from spending more on filters in the long run. It all depends on how much you want to spend on your filter.

For more information about the air filter in your home or help with poor indoor air quality issues, speak with a Los Angeles HVAC services expert today! Call JW Plumbing, Heating and Air at (213) 444-2115 to schedule an inspection or repair service appointment.

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