How to Choose the Right Filter for Your Furnace

When you shop for a filter for your furnace, you may wonder what the difference is between lower-cost and higher-end filters. Generally speaking, the denser the filter, the better job it does of keeping dirt and other particles out of your equipment. So what’s the right filter for your furnace? Read on for some information that will help you choose.

MERV Rating

HVAC system filters are rated by the MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value, system. Manufacturers sometimes use their own rating systems, but MERV is the industry standard.

Homeowners who choose the cheapest fiberglass filters, usually rated MERV 1-4, are providing minimal protection for their HVAC systems from the largest dirt and debris particles. Nor do these filters do much to improve indoor air quality.

Higher-rated filters keep smaller particles out of the HVAC system. They also capture more allergens and other particles that might be recirculated into the home’s air, causing respiratory problems. Better quality filters for the home are usually pleated, providing greater surface area to trap particles, and are made of a cotton and polyester blend. They generally last longer than cheaper filters; depending on how dusty the home is, they may be used for as long as three months before changing the air filter is necessary.

Filters rated MERV 5-7 do an adequate job of keeping most airborne particles out of the HVAC system and the home’s air, including mold, dust, pollen and textile and carpet fibers. Filters rated between MERV 8 and 12 are recommended for the typical home, while filters rated MERV 13-20 are too dense for most residential HVAC systems, and cannot be used without significant modifications to accommodate airflow.

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.
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