A person changing an air filter on a high efficiency furnace

Do Home Air Filters Make A Difference?

You know you need to change your air filters for your HVAC system regularly, but you might be overwhelmed by the number of air filters available at the hardware store to choose from. Filters come in all shapes, sizes, and filtration abilities so it’s easy to get confused about which one would work best. The team at Heartland Heating, Air, and Plumbing explains the importance of air filters and how they help your home and HVAC system, as well as how to choose the best air filters for your home’s air.

What Does an Air Filter Do?

Air filters filter the air that flows into your HVAC system so your furnace or heat pump can cycle the air through your home. Your air filter remove particles, dander, and other pollutants from the air that can clog your furnace and ruin your home’s air quality.

When air filters get too clogged they can choke your furnace, which can cause inefficiency or damage your furnace.

Things to Consider When Shopping For Air Filters

When shopping for new air filters, there are a few things to consider when you’re weighing your options. It’s very easy to pick the wrong filter for your home’s HVAC system, so to prevent yourself from going back to the store, you want to make sure you do your research first.


When you know you need to get new air filters for your home, the best thing to do is either take the filter from your furnace with you to the store or take a picture of it on your phone. This way you can be sure that you’ve got the exact same filter. Often, people assume they know the measurements of their filters, but even being off by one inch can prevent your filter from fitting properly.

MERV Ratings

Every air filter has a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. This rating is a measurement of how well the air filter cleans out particles in the air. The MERV rating scale is between 1-20, which 20 being the best, meaning it can capture smaller particles that filters lower on the scale, but they also restrict airflow.

A filter that has a MERV rating between 1-8 is capable of only picking up large to medium-sized particles. Filters between 9-12 can capture particles like pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen. A filter with MERV ratings between 13-16 can stop fine particles like pollen and bacteria.

Picking a MERV rating will depend on your home’s air. If you have pets, you definitely want a filter that is capable of capturing pet dander. If you have household members prone to allergies, you may want a higher MERV rating as well. However, because of the restricted airflow higher MERV filter ratings have, it may hurt the efficiency of your furnace. The lower the MERV rating, the more efficient your furnace’s performance will be.

Filter Type

There are 3 filter types to consider.

  • Fiberglass Filters – typically have a MERV rating between 1-4. These are the most energy-efficient filters, but they aren’t as powerful to improve indoor air quality.
  • Pleated Filters – range from high MERV ratings and can capture small particles. Check your furnace manual to see if your furnace recommends getting a filter with a MERV rating of 12 or higher. If your MERV rating is too high on your filter, it could damage your furnace.
  • HEPA Filters – these filters are commonly called air cleaners and you need special equipment to have these added to your HVAC system. These types of filters are commonly found in hospitals and medical facilities because they can filter out bacteria and viruses.

How Often Should I Change My Air Filters?

Your system’s air filters should be changed every 90 days, or three months. However, if you’re new to your system, you should inspect them every month to see the rate in which they fill up. If you find that your air filters fill up faster than every 90 days, change them anyway. It’s better to change your filter more often than to let it get clogged and cause damage to your HVAC system.

Heartland Can Provide You With the Perfect Air Filter Every Time

Having a hard time finding an air filter that’s compatible with your home’s comfort system? Heartland Heating, Air, and Plumbing can help. Talk to us about having air filters delivered to your home on a regular basis so you never forget to swap them out. Get in contact with Heartland today to learn more.