Visit any hardware store, and you will be met with many choices when it comes to air filters. Standing I on that aisle in the store can you leave you scratching your head. There are fiberglass, pleated, wired and not to mention all those numbers that aren’t the filter size.

It really can be simple once you understand a few basics. So depending on the manufacturer and where you purchase you will see several different ratings such as MERV, FFR, or MPR on the filters. However, one thing they have in common is, the higher the number, the thicker and denser the filter. Thicker and denser filters are designed to trap and prevent more dust and allergens from recirculating in the home. One thing to note though is that filters with the higher ratings also require your A/C unit to work much harder in pulling air through your return grates. So depending on your particular needs and sensitivity to allergens, you will want to select one that is most suited for you and your family. Generally a mid-range filter (i.e. MERV rating 8-11 or MPR of 1000-1200 or an FPR 7) works great for the average home.

In closing, here a few tips to use.

  • First, change your filters every 2-3 months.
  • Second, make sure you insert the filter with the correct side facing you. You’ll see an arrow on the side that points in the direction of the airflow.
  • Finally, use a pen to mark the corner of the filter with the date you are changing. This will help you remember the last time you changed it.

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