Chances are, you're a typical homeowner that's a bit confused when it comes to picking the right air filter for your home air conditioner / furnace unit. There are so many choices out there and so many claims, it can be hard to decide which is the right filter. I'm writing this guide to help you determine the facts and make an educated decision!
GET A FILTER WITH A GOOD MERV RATING!
1. The first thing to look for is the MERV rating of the filter. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. In summary, this is an industry wide testing method to determine the filters' abiliity to capture particles of various sizes. In essence, the higher the MERV rating the better the filter is when it comes to capturing particles of all sizes, big and small! Many filter sellers only give you an arrestance rating. The arrestance rating means a filter's ability to capture a mass fraction of large sized particles and is suited for describing low and medium efficiency filters. Please know that arrestance values may be high, but even lower grade and low efficiency filters can carry a high arrestance. This is due in part because even with a high arrestance value, the filter is allowing a huge percentage of small particles pass right through and the filter is only catching the big and heavy stuff! Don't be fooled. If they don't have the proof to back up a good solid MERV rating of 11 or higher, it is most likely because their filter doesn't meet the standard despite whatever claims they are making.
2. The next thing to look for is the number of pleats per foot across the face of the filter. When comparing two filters of the same MERV rating, the filter with more pleats per foot will have more filter media and this more surface area. This means that
A: The filter with more pleats per foot across the face will allow you to have better airflow throughout your home. The more air that flows through your house, the more often it is passed and re-circulated through the filter. The end result is cleaner air because of the higher frequency of air passes through the filter. For example, if you could find a way to install a hospital grade operating room filter in your home unit, it wouldn't do you much good because your fan and motor doesn't have enough power to push enough air through it. A good quality filter with a high MERV 11 rating can actually leave you with dirtier air than using a cheap 1 dollar filter if the MERV 11 filter doesn't have enough pleats per foot. Less pleats per foot is a cheap and dirty way for filter sellers to trick buyers into thinking they are getting a better deal. Insist on MERV 11 filters that have a minimum of 18 pleats per foot! You can click here to view these filters on ebay: BUYFILTERSONLINE EBAY AUCTIONS
B: The filter with more pleats per foot also means that the filter will last longer since there is more surface area for the dust and dirt to collect upon. It is simple logic to figure out that more pleats equals more surface area. Thus, more surface area equals a longer time before the filter becomes plugged up and needs changed. This saves you money over the long haul because you are not having to change out your filter as often as some of the other filters with less pleats per foot! Think twice before trying to save a few dollars on a carton of 12 filters if the cheaper brand has less than 18 pleats per foot!
INFORMATION REGARDING OTHER TYPES OF FILTERS AND AIR CLEANING DEVICES
1. There are other styles of filters available to the public such as the common electrostatic washable type. Have you ever noticed that these electrostatic washable filters do not advertise or have a MERV rating? It is because they fail miserably when it comes to subjecting that style of filter to a MERV test. These filters are designed to be washed out monthy and reused. While this filter is initially expensive, it can be used for a number of years before needing replacement. Tests show that this type of filter is not very effective at capturing smaller, respirable particles from the air. (Respirable means the particle sizes that aren't filtered out by the human body's defenses and can enter into your lungs.) Although some brands of filters of this type claim an electrostatic charge created by the air movement through the media, the charge is actually minimal and plays little or no role in particle capture. In laboratory independent tests, these filters initially provide good filtration results and that's what they base their claims upon. However, once there is a light coating of dust or slight humidity, the ability for this filter to capture dust and dirt falls to levels comparable to a cheap 1 dollar fiberglass filter. Basically this means that it will only stop the bigger particles and allow the vast majority of dust particles to pass right through. If these filters could produce anywhere near the claims that are made about how great they are, don't you think they would be used in hospitals and pharmaceutical labs? After all, these types of facilities have very high expenses related to air filtration and they must have clean air. I've been in the replacement air filter business for 17 years and have yet to sell or see one single electrostatic washable filter in a hospital or pharmacueutical facility! They never even ask about them because they know that they simply don't work as well as a good MERV 11 rated pleated filter. Just ask anyone trying to sell you an electrostatic washable filter for a MERV test and watch them squirm! They will start telling you about their great arrestance values which only means that their filter catches a lot of big heavy dirt and lets all the small particles that irritate your allergies right through and into the air you're breathing!
2. Another type of air cleaning device being sold to the public is the Ion Generator. Being in the business myself for over 17 years, I have to laugh everytime I see the commercial on TV for one of these so called technologically advanced Ionic air cleaners. Have you ever noticed when they show the woman wiping the black dust off of the collector plate that there really isn't much dist and dirt there? Think about it. Even after cleaning off the collector plate there looks as if there would be less than a full teaspoon of dust! Compare that to even a cheap pleated filter and the dirt it will catch and collect after just a few days in your home furnace . You will see more dust and dirt in just one square inch of the pleated filter than what was found on the whole collector plate of the ionic air cleaner! Another thing that these electronic type room air cleaners fail to tell you is that Ion generators also use static charges to remove particles from the air. They act by charging the particles in a room, so the dirt is then attracted to your walls, floors, table tops, draperies and such. Although the unit has taken particles out of the air, it has simply made them stick to your surroundings. I don't think this is what most people have in mind when they want to clean their air in the home. So technically, I suppose they don't lie when they say that the unit cleans the air, but they don't tell you that it doesn't clean the air by capturing the particles....it cleans the air by making all the dust and dirt stick to the surfaces in your home! That's why there isn't much dirt on the collector plates, it's turning your home's furnishings into the dust capturing device!
Like I mentioned above, I've been in the filtration industry for over 17 years. I have attended an exhaustive amount of filtration seminiars and classes, all backed by real world scientific testing methods. I know first hand what works and what does not work. As mentioned earlier, my main business is providing filtration products to hospitals, pharmaceutical firms and industrial/commercial buildings. If ANYTHING worked better than a good high quality MERV rated filter, they would be using it!
To get the best in filtration for you home, check out these auctions by clicking here BUYFILTERSONLINE EBAY AUCTIONS