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Choosing the right a/c filter

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Choosing an an air conditioning filter can be a bit confusing. What filter do I need? Whats the difference between a MERV 8 and a MERV 13? Hopefully I can answer some of your questions and inform you about the differences between filters.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV are how filters are rated.  The higher the MERV rating the more efficient the filter. For example a MERV 5 filter is on the lower end of the rating and a MERV 16 on the higher end. A MERV 8 filter is good for collecting most household contaminants. It is also good for older systems that have a single speed motor. I wouldn't recommend a higher efficient filter for this application.

If you have a newer high efficiency system a MERV 11 or 13 will work with that application. These filters provide the best dust collection for your home or business. They remove smaller particles, including sneeze droplets, makeup powder. These filters are all available in 1" - 5" depths.

Some high end a/c systems can use a MERV 16 filter. These filters are used in hospitals and surgical operating rooms. These filters provide superior service. However, these filters require a separate housing under your air handler/furnace or installed in your return duct.

Most of these filters are available in a carbon filter for odor removal such as smoke and voc's ( hair spray, cleaning products, ect.)