Choosing an air filter isn’t really as easy as going to your local hardware store and picking up the right size. You want to take a few things into consideration. Where is the filter? are you worried about keeping your equipment clean? OR…are you trying to keep the air quality in your home as healthy and clean as possible?

Air filter by AJC1, on FlickrLow to middle rated air filters will keep your equipment clean but have low dust removal ratings as well. These are the typical panel filters (pleated or not) and they usually have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of less than 12. MERV ranges from 1-16 and obviously the higher the rating, the better the performance.

High efficiency filters do cost more but they also perform better and are generally higher on the MERV scale. Keep in mind that LEED builders use filters with a minimum MERV rating of 13.

Whichever filter you choose, remember to replace it once a month. Some of the higher efficiency filters can be cleaned with warm water and soap and reused. Make sure to factor that into your cost.

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