4 Types of Filters – The Basics

Most people don’t think about air filters that much. If they did, we at Three Rivers Services wouldn’t have to remind them every month to change theirs (remember – your filter should NOT look like a fluffy gray cat!). Not only do filters keep harmful debris out of your HVAC system, but they can also help reduce allergens and other particles. But which type of filters should you choose?

Choosing the right filter isn’t as simple as finding the right size, unfortunately. When deciding what filter is best for your needs, you need to know your MERV Rating! MERV, or Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value Rating, tells you the size of the particles your filter is keeping out of your system. In other words, how small does a particle or allergen have to be for your filter to keep it out?

Filter #1 – MERV 1-4

Ah, MERV categories 1-4, also known as the “Rock Catcher” filters, since that is about all that they are able to catch.Filters in this range will only be able to catch fairly large particles, such as dog hair. These filters can keep larger debris from entering your cooling system, but will not do much to help with your home’s air quality. These filters offer the least amount of protection for your home and are not recommended.

Filter #2 – MERV 5-8

Now we’re getting to the type of filters that most people use in their homes. These filters are somewhat better and will catch more debris, dust, and dust mites. However, these filters will not catch most allergens or larger pollen.

Filter #3 – MERV 9-12

The most common filter used from this range is MERV 11. These filters give you larger surface space and are able to catch more and smaller debris, allergens, and pollen. The downside of MERV 11 and other filters in this range is that they tend to be thicker and can restrict air flow, potentially damaging their system. While most people focus on disposable filters, washable filters are an option. They tend to be fairly effective and can be found in a variety of MERV ratings. However, they only last so long and need to be replaced approximately every 2 years.

Filter #4 – Trane CleanEffects

Here we get to the star of the show, the Trane CleanEffects filter. This 2-part filter not only has a pre-filter to catch the larger particles such as hair and larger dust, but it also has a second electronic filter that charges the air which is then caught into a honeycomb filter. The CleanEffects removes up to 99.98% of airborne particles, is more effective than even the best HEPA room filters, and up to 100x more effective than a standard MERV < 9 filter. This hospital grade filter only needs to be cleaned every 3-months and comes with a 10-year warranty.

We here at Three Rivers Services hope that this information has been helpful. Whether you are in the market for a new HVAC system or are trying to extend the life of your current unit, the more you know, the more you save! And if or when you need a high quality, reliable, trustworthy Heat and Air Services company, we hope you’ll think of us here at Three Rivers Services (985) 238-3239!

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