Bay Area HVAC: Does Your HVAC System’s Air Filter Fit Your Needs?

While it sounds disgusting, bacteria, viruses, and mold are particulate pollutants which can be found in the air in most Bay Area homes. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the air inside most homes is far more polluted than outdoor air, but the right air filter can make a difference – particularly for those who suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems.

How to choose the right air filter for your San Francisco or Hayward home?

The air filters used in today’s HVAC systems are rated on the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) scale. This scale ranges from 1 to 20, with 20 being the most efficient filter. However, ratings higher than 13 are usually not recommended for home use, as the filters are so dense and thick they could potentially impede air flow. These types of filters are typically used in hospitals and other more “sterile” environments.

Filters with a MERV rating of 1 through 4 are usually cheap, flat, and incapable of trapping particles smaller than 10 microns. This means that using filters with these ratings does very little to improve indoor air quality, as smaller particles get through the filter and infiltrate your home.

Filters rated 5 through 8 are ideal for the needs of most Bay Area homeowners, as they are capable of trapping particles such as mold spores and others as small as 3 microns in size. These filters are considered medium quality.

A filter with a MERV rating of 9 through 12 will trap dust, Legionella, and other particles as small as 1 micron. Considered the highest quality for residential HVAC systems, these filters can help greatly reduce the symptoms associated with allergies and asthma.

Before upgrading your HVAC system’s air filter, check the specifications so you know which type it will accommodate; air flow must be balanced with cleaning capabilities in order to enjoy comfortable, clean indoor air.

Once you determine which air filter is right for your needs, be sure to check it monthly to see if it needs replacing.

Need more expert advice about choosing the right air filter for your needs? Contact your Bay Area HVAC company, Ortiz Heating & A/C today; we’ve proudly served Bay Area homeowners for nearly 15 years!