What You Need to Know About Air Filters

How MERV can help

You’ve been there, haven’t you? In the aisle with the air filters for your HVAC system and you have something that’s causing more confusion than solutions. You have choices. Different sizes and variety of types, each with a different price tag. So, how do you know what air filter is right for your furnace? What is the difference between the pricey filters and the cheap filters? Here is what you need to know about air filters and how to survive this shopping dilemma!


If you don’t know MERV, get to know him, er, it. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. It was developed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. Here’s what you need to know: The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter. Less expensive filters have a lower MERV rating which means they do not collect all of the debris in your air. That said, be careful, not all systems are created equally and they all can not handle the higher rated MERV filters.

Electronic Filters vs Disposable Filters

Some systems are equipped with electronic filters. What’s nice about these filters is that they can usually be removed and washed and placed back in your furnace. However, Danny Burford of Minnesota Air cautions those who think that electronic filters are always a better way to go. “Electronic filters are good for killing bacteria in the air, but they typically do a poor job collecting dust,” said Burford.

Air Filters are important regardless of season

One of the wonderful aspects of summers in Minnesota are the warm days and cooler nights. When it’s cool outside, we open the windows and let the air flow through the house. We always think of this as “fresh air.” It may be fresh, but there are also particles in the air that blow into your home that could effect air quality. Burford reminds us that airflow in the summer months is just as critical, if not more so, than the winter months.

So, get to know MERV and make sure you check the rating of the filter before you buy it. Of course, there are less expensive options, but remember, you typically get what you pay for!

Minnesota furnace repair

For more home maintenance and comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.

About Ed Heil

Owner of StoryTeller Media & Communications an inbound marketing and digital PR agency in Bloomington, MN.
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