Replacing a furnace filter is part of the regular furnace maintenance that should be performed regularly. Replacing the old filter every few months will help keep your air quality high and your furnace running efficiently. But how do you know what type of filter to purchase? Should you purchase the brand name, or an aftermarket filter? Is there a difference? Below, we examine what to look for when purchasing a new furnace filter.
What’s an OEM Air Filter?
Often referred to as an OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer filter, these are produced by the brand name company. There are also plenty of aftermarket, or discounted air filters for the home available for purchase as well. So what is the difference? Truthfully, the biggest difference you will see is the cost of the hvac filters. OEM filters are typically much more expensive because you are paying for a brand name. When comparing the material that each air filter is made of, they will look and feel identical. The only difference that you may occasionally see is if the material on the OEM filter is in limited supply or has a patented design. The other difference you may notice is simply the branding and the name of the furnace filter.
MERV Ratings Explained
What truly matters though when choosing an efficient filter for your furnace is something called the MERV rating. The purpose of the air filter is to catch contaminants in the air. The amount of contaminants the filter is able to catch is measured by its MERV rating. This rating can range from 1 to 16 depending on the quality of the furnace filter. All filters, OEM furnace filters and discounted furnace filters alike, will carry this rating. To determine which high-quality filter to purchase, it is better to look for a desirable MERV rating, rather than searching for a brand name. By selecting your filter based on the MERV rating, you are ensuring that you will find a high performance and high quality filter, regardless of brand name.
Get the Right Size
Air filters for your home can come in many different sizes depending on the type of furnace you have. Ensuring that your filter fits properly in your HVAC system means making sure that you have not only the right length and width, but also thickness of your filter. Most standard air filters are 1 – 2 inches in thickness. Whereas media filters are typically 3 to 5 inches in thickness. The best way to measure your air filter size is to get out the measuring tape and measure it directly. Most of the time the filter size is printed on the old filter that you can use as a reference for reordering. If the dimensions are not printed on your filter you can measure your filter and find the actual dimensions by following these easy instructions
Deciding which home air filter to purchase can be a difficult decision. You want your air quality to be clean in the house, but also want your furnace to run efficiently. It is also nice to be able to save money if you can, since this is a part to the furnace that must be changed regularly. Discount air filters are the economic choice and in the end you will not have to sacrifice on quality.