Does your to-do-list have ‘change the AC filter’ on it? If so, you have probably spent time at the home supply store or searching online for the right replacement. You find the right size and then you find a myriad of filters that appear to look the same, but have a wide variety of prices. In addition to the size, the filter’s type and rating will affect the price you pay.
Factors for filter costs:
- One time use versus washable – Cardboard frame single-use filters are usually rated for 90-day usage, while plastic frame ‘lifetime’ washable filters can last as long as 10 years – with properly scheduled cleanings.
- Filter rating – every filter sold in the US will have a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) on the package. Most residential filters will have a rating between 5 (less effective) and 12 (more effective) indicating the filter’s ability to capture particles and pollutants from your home’s air. People with allergies or other breathing issues may want to use a filter with a higher MERV value. There are other filter ratings in use by specific manufactures or retailers, but the MERV value will be shown on all filters.
Regardless of the type you buy, failing to change or clean the filter on a regular basis will negatively affect your indoor air quality and HVAC efficiency.