How To Get The Best Fitting Air Filter

If you have noticed that your home is not as comfortable as it once was, it may be because the air filter in your HVAC system needs to be replaced. Getting the right size of filter for your HVAC system is very important. If you buy a filter that is too large for the frame, you may have to cut it down to size and that can be very hard to do. If you get a filter that is too small for the frame, it will not be able to capture all of the particles that are in the air, and dust and dirt will get into your HVAC system.

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Where can I find the size of the filter I need?

According to Filter King,  the size of the filter you will need to buy is printed on the side of the frame.  Your owner’s manual may also list the size you should buy, if you cannot find the measurements there, you can simply measure the filter yourself with a tape measure. There will be a long side and a short side, but you also want to find out the width of the filter.

Once you have your measurements, you can go online and find a website that sells filters. Most of them allow you to select your filter by brand and size. With most websites, you will put the measurements of your filter into a search engine, and then select the quality of the filter you want. You will have several quality choices.

Why Quality Matters

The air conditioning industry uses a system called MERV  to determine the quality of an air filter. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values. A MERV rating is based on a filter’s ability to capture particles that are in the air.

Filters with a very high  MERV rating will be able to capture very small particles. Filters with a low MERV rating will only be able to capture large particles such as dust and pet dander. MERV ratings go from 1 to 16. The very best online filter sales companies will let you search by MERV rating as well as brand name.

Most filter companies will tell you that a residential home should have a filter that has a MERV rating between 8 and 13. Filters that have ratings higher than 13 are generally used in professional settings like hospitals and laboratories. Most home HVAC systems are not built to handle such a heavy filter. If a filter is too heavy for an HVAC system, air may not be able to get through. The system will have to work harder and your energy bills will be higher. After an HVAC system is overworked for a long time, the fan may get worn out.

You should check your owner’s manual to see what kind of MERV rating the manufacturers of your HVAC system recommend. Most filter sales websites will also have customer service representatives who can assist you in selecting the proper filter to purchase for your system.

What if I cannot find the size of my filter?

If you have an HVAC system that is older, or if your HVAC  system was designed specifically for your home, you may have a hard time finding the right size filter for your air conditioner. Fortunately, there are a few high-quality filter sales websites out there that will let you order a custom-made filter. All you have to do is put the measurements into the website and they will create a perfect fitting filter.

Custom filters will be a bit more expensive than regular filters, but they will be less expensive than getting a new HVAC system.

Cutting a Filter Down to Size

If you are looking to save money, you can always attempt to cut a larger filter down to the size that you need. The tools you will use to cut the filter will depend upon the type of media with which you are working but usually, you will be able to use a sharp pair of scissors.

You will want to buy a couple of filters that are just a bit bigger than the one you need. You will need a magic marker, a measuring tape, and scissors. Measure your filter and mark off the measurements on the filter with a marker. You can cut along the line that you drew. If you want to get a better cut, you can use a paper cutter or a table saw.

It takes a steady hand to cut your own air filter. If you are just a little bit off, your filter will not be the right size. You may end up going through several air filters to get one that is the perfect size.

Why Filters Are So Important

Go to your window and look outside. Even If you live on a quiet residential block, there are all kinds of things that can cause dirt and debris to be in the air. Trees may give us oxygen and flowers may be beautiful and fragrant. However, trees contain certain allergens and flowers contain pollen.  Many people have allergies to these things.

Cars driving down the street can release dangerous fumes that can get into your home and make you sick. The concrete on the sidewalk disintegrates over time and there are particles of it in the air. The roads were built using cement, tar, and other chemicals. Those things get into the air, and what is in the air, can get into your home.

When you buy high-quality filters and change them regularly, you will have a clean and safe home environment. When the air you breathe is clean, you will feel healthier and have more energy to do the things you love.



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