Understanding Furnace Filters

As a home owner in Calgary you know you need to change your furnace filters regularly. You may have been in the stores looking at furnace filters, feeling confused about all the options, and wondering which filter will be best for your home. On filters there is a MERV rating. This can help you decide which one is best for you, however you need to know what that rating means.
So what is a MERV Rating exactly? First off, MERV stands for

MINIMUM
EFFIENCY
REPORTING
VALUE

1. The higher the MERV rating on a filter, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it. What does this mean for you? As a homeowner, you want to be sure your family is safe and healthy, right? Well, changing your filters regularly will certainly help with that, but the MERV rating on the filters you buy is also important.
2. MERV ratings dictate the price you pay. You may think on the surface that MERV 11s are better than MERV 8s, you may be wrong. MERV 8-rated filters capture 70%-85% of mold spores, hair spray, fabric protector and cement dust measuring 3 to 10 microns in size. MERV 11 air filters capture 65%-70% of humidifier dust, lead dust, auto emissions and milled flour measuring 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size and 85% or better for the same pollutants measuring 3 to 10 microns in size. So you might not want to spend the extra cash on the merv 11 filter when the merv 8 filter may be cheaper and comparable to the merv 11 one. Depending on where you buy your filters you can save money knowing the facts.
3. For optimal home comfort, adequate airflow is necessary to regulate temperature and keep allergens out. For most homes, a MERV rating between 8 and 11 is perfectly fine. Higher MERV ratings may be more desirable to you if you have family members, particularly children and older folks, who suffer from allergies and asthma.

Considering the MERV rating on your air or furnace filters in Canada is a helpful way to identify the capabilities of different large air cleaners. Determined through rigorous testing and given the worst-case performance of the filter, the MERV number remains a good indicator of performance. That being said, there are other factors at play here as well, so don’t assume that buying the right air filtration system is a simple matter of choosing the unit with the highest MERV. For example, most brands out there today use electrostatic charges to boost the filter’s rating. However, like a balloon that you rub on your head and place on the wall, that charge will only last a few hours. Same with filters: the electric charge eventually dissipates and reduces the filter’s efficiency after just a few hours of operation. Look for filters that have a mechanical vs electrostatic rating for example the merv 8 30/30.

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