There’s a lot for you to consider when it comes to filters for your HVAC system: whether or not it’s necessary to have the highest MERV-rated filter, or if these can actually hurt the efficiency your system, or how much healthier they make your air.
It’s also important to consider how often you’re getting rid of filters, constantly throwing these in the trash, creating more waste.
For me, the decision on finding the “greenest” MERV-rated filters is about the specific allergies, dust, mold, or air contaminants I face in my household, which filter will last the longest while absorbing these contaminants, and reducing the overall energy consumption of my HVAC system.
Only then am I able to choose the filter that’s greenest for me.
What Is the MERV Scale?
Fair question. The MERV scale rates your filter’s ability to collect and absorb certain sizes of contaminants such as pollen, granules, or mold. The higher the MERV rating, the more contaminants the filter will be able to collect.
So, What Are Your Basic Purification Needs?
Here’s why this decision is subjective: some families are going to require a higher MERV rating due to allergies, unclean air, pet dander, or mold. These are serious issues, and it’s important you find a MERV rating that collects these particles—no matter how expensive or how many you need to purchase in a given year.
Other families don’t require a high MERV rating—but, instead, they can use a medium MERV rating (around 6 or 7), and will reduce unnecessary waste and financing. A more mid-level MERV will also save strain on your HVAC and will lower your electric bill—thereby lowering your carbon footprint.
The Best Filter(s) for You
Replacement is the key. No, we don’t want to contribute excess waste to our landfills with constant filter replacement, but we do want to reduce the amount of fuel our HVAC system uses, and a medium-to-medium/high level MERV rating will do just that. And filters need to be replaced. Any filters rated between 1 and 4 will need to be replaced almost monthly. Any above that will last roughly three months. And while replacing the filter means throwing the old one away, you’re keeping your furnace in better working order and using less electricity.
There’s no best-case scenario for “greenest” filter. In my home, I use a filter rated 11, to help keep my son’s allergies at bay while not putting too much strain on my furnace. Your mileage may vary.