Air Filter Knowledge Base "What you need to Know" [FAQ]
Why Should You Change Your Air Filters Regularly?
- Dirty air filters are top cause for HVAC system failure. A dirty filter prevents the proper air flow into your HVAC systems air handler. Restricted air flow creates a strain on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor and cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail. Filter replacement is best option to extend to life of one of the biggest financial investments in your home.
- Clean air filter makes your fan motor run smoother and consume less energy. One of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce your energy bill is to replace your air filter.
- Clean air filters improve the air quality in your home. Poor home air quality can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly children’s allergies. Change your filter for your family’s health.
- Dirty air filters makes your heating and air-conditioning systems and your ducts get dirty more quickl.. This can lead to costly maintenance expenses or to a need to replace your units sooner than you expected.
- Clean air filters decreases your energy bills. You can see an immediate, short-term cost saving s when you replace your air filter.
- Clean air filter decreases your carbon footprint. Changing your filter reduces the amount of energy your home consumes making it convenient and inexpensive way to be environmentally responsible.
How Often Should You Change a 1 Inch Furnace Filter
A 1 inch flat ac filter or furnace filter may need to be changed every 30 days, but a 1 inch pleated furnace filter may need to be changed every 2 to 3 months. Depending on your environment furnace filter may need to be changed more frequently. High dust environments like the desert usually require more frequent ac filter changes. It is best to check your filter regularly and keep spare filters on hand incase you need to change a filter.
What is the easiest way to filter the air in Your Home?
To easily filter the air in your home you can set the fan on the thermostat to the “on” position and it will continuously filter the air in your home through your existing filters. If you want better air filtration you can change your air filters to a more efficient filter. An air filter with an efficiency level of “MERV 8” is a good level to start improving air quality. Higher MERV ratings like MERV 11 and MERV 13 will have better filtration of smaller particles.
Finding the Right Filter Sizes for AC and Furnace Filter
In addition to carrying major brands of furnace filters like Lennox, Carrier, Trion Air Bear and Skuttle we also offer custom size filters at Atomic. Select the size to see a collection of filter for that size or select your Brand and see the entire collection of Whole-house furnace filters available. Filter are usually listed by the Nominal Size which is a rounded number, based off of the true dimensions of the filter which are called the "actual size".
How Do I Find the Size of My AC Filter?
You can usually Find the Size of Your Air Conditioner filter right on the side of the frame of the ac air filter. The Picture of this 12x12x1 inch air filter has the Nominal size which is the size by which air filters are generally sold. On the right of the filter it also includes the actual ac filter size which are the true measures dimensions of the filter by lenght width and depth. See air filter image:
If there is no size on your current AC filter, you can measure the length width depth of the filter and the filter to find the Actual Size of your filter with the Corresponding Furnace Filter size in the Furnace Filter Size(Nominal Size) Chart.
Find Your AC Air Filter and Furnace Filter by Brand
Click the link for the brand to see the entire collection. Use the search to find your item by Model, Title or Size.
|Whole House Filters by Brand
|Carrier / Bryant
|Trion Air Bear
How Do I Find My Filter Sizes for AC and Furnace Filter by Size?
What Type of Filters Should I Choose? An Explanation of MERV
You should choose an air filter that offers the highest level of efficiency that is compatible with your HVAC system. Minimum efficiency reporting value, known as the MERV rating, is a measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters.
What is a MERV Filter?
MERV is a not a brand or type of filter but scale for ranking air filters based on their particle removal efficiencies. MERV stands for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The MERV scale ranges from 1 to 20.
Is MERV 8 a Good Filter?
According to the EPA, most home HVAC systems use a low MERV (1-4) fiberglass furnace filter that has a nominal size of 1” thick. Upgrading this AC filter to a medium efficiency filter (MERV 5-8) can have a significant effect on improving the air quality in your home. MERV 8 being at the top of this scale would be a good choice for improving the air quality in your home. For allergy suffers a higher MERV filter would be a better alternative.
What does MERV 8 mean on an air filter? Simply put, MERV is a rating system for the effieincy of air filter. The higher the MERV the more efficient a filter is at filtering smaller particles. According to the EPA "a medium efficiency filter (MERV 5–8) can significantly improve the air quality in a home."
The MERV rating can be helpful in comparing the performance filters, but you should also look at the initial resistance of a filter and other performance data. A lower resistance for the same MERV rating is favorable.
The Higher the MERV rating is for a filter, the better that filter is at filtering more smaller particles from the air each time the air passes through the filter.
The filtering percentages for MERV 8 filters at different particles sizes are:
1.0-3.0 greater than or equal to 20%
3.0-10.0 greater than or equal to 70%
What is a Good Allergy Filter?
When it comes to smaller particles that can irritate allergy suffers, higher efficiency filters (MERV 9-12) will work even better at improving air quality. What does MERV 11 mean. MERV 11 is a superior residendial air filter which will filter a very high percentage of particles as small as 3.0 to 1.0 μm each time the air passes through the filter. This includes particles such as Legionella, Humidifier dust, Lead dust, Milled flour, Auto emission particulates, and Nebulizer droplets.
Is A Higher MERV Rating Better?
A true high efficiency filter (MERV 13-16) can reduce indoor particles by as much as 95 percent. Filters with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) rating, (or MERV 17-20) are the most efficient. You may need to consult with a local heating and air technician or the manufacturer of your central air system to confirm which (or if ) high efficiency filters will work with your system. If you can’t switch to a more efficient filter, running the system continuously by switching the thermostat fan from “Auto” to “On” has been shown to reduce particle concentrations by as much as 24 percent.
|Min. particle size
|Typical controlled contaminant 
|Typical Application 
|> 10.0 μm
|Pollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, carpet fibers
|Residential window AC units
|Mold, spores, dust mite debris, cat and dog dander, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, pudding mix
|Better residential, general commercial, industrial workspaces
|Legionella, Humidifier dust, Lead dust, Milled flour, Auto emission particulates, Nebulizer droplets
|Superior residential, better commercial, hospital laboratories
|Bacteria, droplet nuclei (sneeze), cooking oil, most smoke and insecticide dust, most face powder, most paint pigments,Virus, smoke
|hospital & general surgery
|< 0.3 μm
|carbon dust, Sea Salt
|Electronics & pharmaceutical manufacturing cleanroom
(1 micron is about 0.04 thousandths of an inch)
Filter efficiency measures of how well the filter does its job of filtering air before it enters the air handler. An air filter “cleans” the air by serving as a physical barrier to particles hanging in the air. Manufacturers use a number of materials in air filters, such as fiberglass. The composition of these materials can impact the filter’s efficiency. Pleated air filter provides greater surface area to trap particles than a flat panel filter and will trap more particles even if made out of an identical material. Wider filters, such as, 2” instead of 1” will also trap more particles.
The higher the MERV rating number the higher the effeciency, choosing the most efficient filter available is generally not always the correct choice. This is due to the fact that as filter efficiency increases, there is a corresponding increase in the level of air flow resistance. A highly efficient filter may restrict air flow to a level that will damage your HVAC system by placing additional strain on the fan motor. Most older HVAC systems should use a filter having a MERV rating no higher than 11. Some Older systems should only use a filter with a MERV rating of only 8 or lower. Some older systems are required to use a flat panel fiberglass filter that offers minimal air resistance but which unfortunately provides little if any air cleaning at all. These filters carry no MERV rating at all. At the other end of the spectrum, a filter rating higher than 11 is best when required only for extreme allergy environments.
Furnace Filters Air Flow Direction
The Air flow arrow on the side of your filter indicates the correct air flow direction of the air entering your furnace equipment. The correct direction of the arrow is facing away from the return duct that carries the air in need of heating or cooling and toward the HVAC equipment.
Air enters the front of the filter and exists the back of the filter which faces the furnace or HVAC. Air filters were initially designed to protect your expensive HVAC equipment. Even through there are now filters also meant to protect air quality the filter is located before to equipment to protect your system. Air filters usually have support on the back side of the filter which is the direction of the air flow from the front of the filter to the back.Many filters will have metal wire on the back of the filter.
What Happen if the Filter is Backwards?
The furnace filter was designed for the air to flow in one direction which is why many filters have metal wire on the back of the filter to prevent the filter from collapsing. A filter installed backwards will restrict air flow in your air handler causing the system to work harder to make up for the decreased airflow.
What happens if you put an air filter in the wrong direction is your furnace is forced to blow air through the non-porous end of a filter. More energy will be required to move air through the system. The blower will be overworked increasing the energy cost for your heating and cooling. This could also have long term effects on the life of your HVAC system.
Good, Better and Best Quality Air Filters Which is Right for You?
Atomic's standard(Good) Filter starts at a Prime Level of home air filter or furnace filter which is a MERV 8 filter, that provides excellent efficiency at an extraordinary value. This filter is constructed of 100% high performance mechanical synthetic media and is laminated to recyclable, galvanized and corrosive resistant expanded metal. These filters are pleated in a radial configuration for optimal airflow and particle removal. The MERV 8 rating indicates this filter will remove on average over 75-80% of the particles between 3.0 and 10.0 microns. This includes pollen, pet dander,carpet and lint, dust, mold, spores, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, and cement dust. Atomic offers our filter in 1” and 2” and 4" thicknesses to fit just about any home application.
Atomic's Premium(Better) Filter Optimum Level of home air filter or furnace filter which is a MERV 11 filter, that provides Tremendous efficiency at an extraordinary value. This filter is constructed of a proprietary tribo-electric high performance synthetic media and is laminated to recyclable, galvanized and corrosive resistant expanded metal. These filters are pleated in a radial configuration for optimal airflow and particle removal. The MERV 11 rating indicates this filter will remove on average over 85% or better of the particles between 3.0 and 10.0 microns and 65-79% of Particles from 1.0 to 3.0 microns. This includes pollen, pet dander,carpet and lint, dust, mold, spores, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, and cement dust, humidifier dust, lead dust, auto emissions, and milled flour. Atomic offers our filter in 1” and 2” and 4" thicknesses to fit just about any home application.
Atomic's Ultra Premium(Best) Filter Superior Level of home air filter or furnace filter which is a MERV 13 filter, that provides Tremendous efficiency at an extraordinary value. This filter is constructed of proprietary tribo-electric high performance synthetic media and is laminated to recyclable, galvanized and corrosive resistant expanded metal. These filters are pleated in a radial configuration for optimal airflow and particle removal. The MERV 13 rating indicates this filter will remove on average over 90% or better of the particles between 3.0 and 10.0 microns and 85% of Particles from 1.0 to 3.0 microns and up to 75% of Particles from .3 to 1.0 microns . This includes pollen, pet dander,carpet and lint, dust, mold, spores, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, and cement dust, humidifier dust, lead dust, auto emissions, milled flour, bacteria,most tobacco smoke and proplet nuclie . Atomic offers our filter in 1” and 2” and 4" thicknesses to fit just about any home application. These filters are premium and often found in Hospital inpatient and general surgery; and in superior commercial buildings.