Choosing the Right HVAC Air Filter

February 22, 2019 7:09 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You choose a house based on location, interior features and cost. You choose a new shirt based on fashion and fit. What criteria should you use to choose the right air filter for your HVAC system? Which one will enhance your system’s performance and help you avoid HVAC repair in Oregon City, OR?

The secret is to consider two main features of the filter, then use what is essentially the Goldilocks method to narrow down your selection to one that’s just right.


The most basic aspect of choosing a filter is to find the right size for your system. Filters come in a wide variety of sizes, but only one is appropriate for your unit. Typically, residential filters are 1” thick, but length and height vary.

Check the label of the filter that is currently in your system to determine the right size. If you want to confirm the proper size is installed, consult with your local HVAC repair team in Oregon City, OR. The information may also be included on the unit itself or in the user’s manual, if available.


Once you’ve determined the size of the filter you need, you must decide on a rating. Filters are rated on the MERV scale (minimum efficiency reporting value). Ratings range up to 16. The rating indicates how well the filter will hold contaminants.

Just Right

The trick with the MERV scale is to choose a filter that provides a healthy balance between air flow, filtration and efficiency. Higher MERVs typically mean less air is flowing through your system. The filter may prevent more particles from entering the system, but your unit may have to work harder to produce air flow. In this case, you lose efficiency and may incur greater utility costs. On the other hand, a MERV that is too low may not effectively filter the air, and you may suffer from poor air quality. The system itself will also suffer, as particles are able to breach the filter and clog the furnace.

Just like Goldilocks, you must find the right rating for you. A good rule of thumb is to look for a MERV between 6 and 8. This typically provides a good balance of filtration and energy efficiency. However, your system may be able to handle a higher MERV, or you may need a higher rating due to allergies or other issues.

Fortunately, an HVAC technician can assist you with choosing a filter. They can examine your system, determine your needs and confirm which filter will be best. A quick consultation with this expert is well worth your time to prevent future HVAC repairs in Oregon City, OR.

Make the Right Choice

Are you ready to find the filter that’s “just right” for you? If you would like expert input, contact the team at L & J Heating & Cooling. Fully licensed, insured and bonded, we are your go-to professionals for consultations and HVAC repair in Oregon City, OR. We offer free estimates for new equipment, and our friendly, knowledgeable associates will go above and beyond to ensure you and your family are always comfortable. Reach out to us today!

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