Choosing The Right Air Filter For Your Toronto Home

February 06, 2015

Trying to select the right air filter for your Toronto home can be a daunting experience. Which brand is best? Should you just get the cheapest? These are just a couple of the questions that make purchasing air filters for your home mind-boggling. Let Service Experts Commercial HVAC attempt to resolve your home air filter questions and allow you to continue enjoying the comfort of your home without concern.

Here’s a simple way to determine how efficient your existing filter is (NOTE: To avoid a big mess, we highly recommend conducting this test outside or over a protected surface): Position the filter horizontally, then with everyday table salt, start pouring the salt through the filter to see how much comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can assume that the filter will let dust pass through as well. You really should upgrade your filter to higher quality filter that is more efficient.

There are 3 primary considerations when choosing a household air filter; Size, Material and MERV rating.

1) Filter Size

Size is the easiest factor to ascertain. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the proper measurements, or just measure it yourself. The majority of home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a variety of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters.

2) Material & MERV Rating

MERV ratings are the efficiencies of the filter on a scale of 16. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number informs the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to contain contaminants.

To help explain the scale of this system, these are some common MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for specific filters.

Rating Average Filtration Efficiency

MERV 1-4 60-80%
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive)

MERV 5-8 80-95%
Pleated, Media panel, Cube

MERV 9-12 >95%
Extended pleated

MERV 13-16 >98%
Electronic

Be Careful About High MERV Ratings

While a higher MERV number may ensure better filtration efficiency, it is extremely important to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your heating and air conditioning system. The higher the MERV, the more difficult the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your aim is to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency.

Look at it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would probably be a piece of plywood that would just trap ALL contaminants and all the air from coming inside your Toronto home. That's maximum air filtration
, but would also be the least comfortable way to go.

Your best bet for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used based upon the advice of your Service Experts Commercial HVAC service advisor to ensure your system has the capability of moving the suitable amount of air through higher efficiency filters. You generally do not want to lose energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family suffers from allergies or respiratory problems and needs a high MERV air filter, consider a
whole-home air filtration solution that will achieve your energy and filter efficiency needs.

Filtration has changed greatly over the past few years. In the beginning, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to protect the comfort equipment itself. Today it’s a whole new ballgame. Toronto area homeowners expect their air filter to save kids from a whole host of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream!