Air Filters & Their Dirty Little Secrets
Hmmm, so you’re standing in the HVAC air filter isle and you feel like you’re drowning in options. At least you wrote down the size of filter you need, but how do you choose one?
Which one can trap all that pet fuzz Lola the cat sheds? Which ones can trap the odors from John’s stinky shoes, or the bacteria that seems to get everyone sick this time of year?
As you ponder your options, you notice that the filters are all marked with either MERV, MPR, FPR and then a number. You wonder, could that be a rating number?
As a matter of fact, they are. The rating system is assigned to each filter and is used to rate its ability to capture and hold particles and pollutants.
The number is in terms of Micrometers, or microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter, not visible to the human eye. Pet dander is 2-4 microns, which is why it can float around in the air for hours.
The higher the rating number, the better the air filter performs.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is the standard measurement scale rating that was designed in 1987 by ASHRAE to rate how effective air filters are. MERV uses a rating scale from 1-20.
MPR stands for Micro-Particle Performance Rating. This rating system was developed by 3M to rate the ability of 3M filters to capture airborne particles smaller than 1 micron. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find any definitive information about what size particles the filters can trap, only general information that names several types of pollutants.
FPR stands for Filter Performance Rating. This system was developed by The Home Depot for brands sold. Their scale is from 4-10. Filters rated at 10 are deemed “Premium” by The Home Depot.
Are you confused yet? It’s almost as if the systems were set up to confuse the consumer. What you need to know is what size particles the filters can trap. To help you out, let’s look at the little comparison chart below and then talk about our favorite filter at Texas Air Doctors, a Fort Worth specialist in indoor air quality control.
Any household air filter up to a MERV 12 rating will trap particles of 1.0 and larger. These are considered premium or superior air filters. However, they don’t trap tobacco smoke, all bacteria, or Proplet Nuceli which are respiratory droplets passed to the air by sneezing, coughing, or talking.
The MERV 16 Air Filter by Lennox
The MERV 16 filter by Lennox is rated to efficiently control contaminants as small as .30-1.0 pm particle sizes. This is the same rating of filters which are commonly used in General Surgery environments.
According to the MERV rating, the filter can control the following airborne contaminants:
- All Bacteria
- Household Dust
- Mold Spores
- Respiratory Droplets (sneezing, coughing, talking)
- Most Smoke
- Lead Dust
- Cooking Oil
- Face Powder
- Paint Pigments
- Milled Flour
- Auto Emissions
- Welding Fumes
- Hair Spray
- Dusting Aids
- Cement Dust
- Dust Mites
- Sanding dust
- Spray Paint Dust
- Textile Fibers
- Carpet Fibers
As a household air filter, the MERV 16 air filter by Lennox offers highly effective protection against all kinds of harmful indoor air contaminants. Imagine what it can do for your air conditioning and heating system. It will effectively eliminate dirt and dust build-up, prolonging the life of the HVAC system.
And that’s why we recommend this filter to all our customers. The MERV 16 air filter by Lennox fits within the HC16 Media Air Cleaner which is a whole-home filtration system. Texas Air Doctors wants all our customers in North Texas to have healthy indoor air climates. If you would like healthier indoor air for your home in Fort Worth, we can install the air filtration equipment for you.