In the Decatur, Alabama area, air quality is important no matter the time of year. This is true no matter which type of HVAC system you have, or whether you filter your indoor air through an air purifier, your central system, or both.

When it comes to air quality, a variety of filtration types are available. You may be wondering which to choose and when, to keep you and your family breathing well all year long.

Thankfully, it’s easy to distinguish between MERV rated filters and HEPA filters. They each have their own uses and knowing the functions of each will get your indoor air clean and comfortable in no time.

MERV Filters. If you’ve ever shopped for furnace filters or needed one for your window AC unit, you may have encountered this wording, which comes with a number between 1 and 16. All HVAC filters are MERV filters.

MERV filters are called such because they’re rated on a simple system that tells you how well they filter particulates such as allergens out of the air. A number on the filter—often a furnace filter—will tell you how well the filter can remove particles from the air. The higher this number, or MERV rating, the better the filter is at catching particles, and the more allergens the filter will trap.

Lower end, more inexpensive MERV rated filters may only capture 20-40% of all larger particles that pass through it, while higher end MERV rated filters, rated up to 16, can capture around 95% of all particles. However, furnace filters with a MERV rating of around 8 are the most popular for furnaces.

Higher rated MERV filters exist, but they are typically used in industry and the medical fields, where sterile air is needed.

HEPA filters. While MERV filters do remove some allergens from your home, they are often better at protecting your HVAC system than cleaning your indoor air. While this is important for the life of your system, they are not enough on their own to completely clean your home’s air. This is why HEPA filters are on the market.

HEPA filters (short for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) do not have ratings, unlike MERV filters. This is because they remove an impressive 99.97% of all allergens and particles that pass through them, and often more. This makes them an excellent choice for allergy relief, and they can also remove some bacteria and tobacco smoke from the air.

For this reason, HEPA filters, which are often portable, are popular in homes and offices. They can be moved as necessary, and after purchase, can be inexpensive to maintain.

Maintenance Is Key. All filter types get clogged and dirty after extensive use, meaning that to keep your air purification systems working properly, you’ll need to replace filters periodically and keep them clean. Most furnace filters are inexpensive and need replacing every few months. HEPA filters can be a bit more expensive but are more effective at removing allergens.

If You Have Questions

Here at Southeastern Mechanical Services in Decatur, AL, we’re here to help you keep your home’s air quality in tip top shape all year long. We can help you install and maintain an air purification system. If you have questions or concerns about your air quality, reach out today.