Best HVAC Filters (2021) And 2 Fail-Safe Tips For Remembering to Change Them

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Most home owners at least know that their HVAC system(heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system has a filter, and that it needs to be changed. Based on our inspections here in Chesterfield, I think most homeowners also forget to change their filters (just like me). I’d bet a shiny Nickle that most homeowners don’t know what can happen from this oversight. I decided to take a few minutes to explain which HVAC filters to use and how forgetting to replace them can damage your system. As a bonus, I included two ways to never forget again. If you don’t like to read, you can skip right to the video.

Homes are Tighter

As a society we are spending more and more time indoors. We are also building our houses tighter to reduce our homes energy consumption, and our carbon footprint. Tighter homes means less natural air flow from outside, and a decrease in our overall indoor air quality. Residential homes have essentially swapped clean air for energy efficiency. The first step in tackling this issue starts with choosing the right filter for your hvac unit.

which ac filter is best

The air in your home

The air in our home contains many airborne particles. This can include mold spores from the crawlspace,  dust mites, dust mite debris, and other airborne allergens, and airborne contaminants. Pet owners also deal with pet dander, and pet hair. The best HVAC air filters on the market today can filter these harmful particles resulting in cleaner air.

It’s not just about your air quality though. Choosing the wrong filter, or leaving a dirty filter in your air conditioner for too long, can damage the

system. A simple explanation of the air handler inside your house is that air is pulled in through the return (the bigger vents) and that air passes over the furnace heat exchanger, or air conditioner coil, and then is pushed out to your supply vents. A good filter filters out the fine particles so that they don’t clog and damage your hvac components. A dirty filter doesn’t allow enough air to pass over these components. Not only will this increase energy costs, it can cause the components to get too hot, or too cold and damage them.

Key Words

There are some words you will need to understand when choosing your filter.

HEPA- HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate absorbing (filter). HEPA filters are really the

MERV Rating – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. High merv rating filters, filter more particles than low merv rating. The scale goes from 1-20. For residential use, you should use a filter with a rating between 9 and 13. Any lower rating is going to allow larger particles through, and any filters with higher merv ratings are more appropriate for medical facilities.

MPR- A filter’s MPR rating (Microparticle Performance Rating) denotes its ability to capture tiny dust particles between 0.3 and 1 micron in size. The higher the MPR, the more microparticles it will capture.

Which is the best HVAC Filter To Use

Most homes have 1-inch home air filters. This existing filter is usually pleated filter, that comes in a variety of sizes. I believe the best choice of filters are either a 1500 MPR, Merv 12 smart filter, or a 1900 MPR , MERV 13 smart filter. Either one of these filters is a good option for filtering out the small particles in your home that can affect your indoor air quality, or damage your system. There are better filters on the market, such as thicker filters, with larger surface area for better filtering and air flow, but these require modifications to your home, or system. While these are the best HVAC filters, they simply won’t fit in most of the systems we see.

Other Types of Air Cleaners

Allergy sufferers or anyone else who requires very clean air should seek professional help on installing other types or air cleaners. There are electrostatic filters that use an electrostatic charge to attract particles. There are blue light air cleaners that clean the air, and even filters that can tackle unpleasant odors. My choice of the best type of filter was simply based on the general needs of most homeowners, and parameters of most systems. Every person and house is different, so always seek the advice of a professional if you have a special system or needs.

Check out the video below to see my two tips on never forgetting to change your filter again.

Bottom Line on HVAC Filters

Your HVAC filters improve the indoor air quality of your home, and increase the life span of your unit. However, forgetting to change them can have the opposite effect.

Choose a good filter, and replace it often.