California enforces an energy code that helps conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gases in homes and businesses. This code is called Building Energy Efficiency Standards Title 24. The California Energy Commission makes updates to this code every three years.
If you live in California, it’s important to meet the 2019 Title 24, Part 6 standards regarding the MERV 13 requirement for air filters, especially if you’re planning any home renovations or additions. Your city or county has the right to check that your home complies with Title 24 requirements.
Do you know the types of air filters in your home’s HVAC system? Do they meet the Title 24 requirements? Read more to find out how to meet California’s energy-efficient standards in your home or business.
What Is the Title 24, MERV 13 Requirement for Your Home?
Title 24 deals with several energy efficiency regulations. These include ventilation, cool roof, windows, skylights, radiant barrier, insulation, lighting, water heaters, and HVAC.
One of the biggest changes to Title 24 in 2019 is the upgrade of air filters. Previously, the energy code required MERV 8 filters in office buildings, high-rise residential, and hotel rooms. Title 24 now requires the minimum efficiency value of filters to be MERV 13 in new construction.
Also, if you live in a low-rise residence, the new Building Energy Efficiency Standards for 2019 require MERV 13 or equivalent filters for your HVAC and ventilation systems if it’s new construction or being renovated.
Why You Need HVAC Air Filtration
Originally, air filters prevented combustible material from getting into forced-air furnaces. As HVAC systems became more complex and expensive, filtration became crucial for protecting the components in these systems, as well as providing better indoor air quality.
Today, the improved efficiency of air filters protect your family and your HVAC equipment. This is where the use of Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings come into the picture.
What Is a MERV Rated Filter?
Are you confused about your air filter MERV rating choices? Here are a few facts you should know about MERV ratings, and how they improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) of your home.
MERV ratings on filters began in 1999 with a standard created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). They used this standard for measuring the minimum operating capacity for air filters.
ASHRAE tested the filters and gave them a number value, which showed the efficiency of the filter for capturing different sized air particles.
The filters have ratings from MERV 1 to MERV 16. The higher the rating, the more particles the filter catches. Keep in mind, you don’t always need the highest-rated filter. You need to choose one that meets the requirements for your home’s HVAC system and the removal of relevant contaminants.
The reason MERV filters with higher number values capture more particles is that the weave in the filter is tighter. MERV 13 filters are great for home use because they are able to remove particles of lower-rated filters, plus smoke, bacteria, smog, and aerosols. It’s important to remember that if you live in an established house and don’t plan on renovating, you can keep your MERV 8 filters. You can also upgrade to a MERV 11 filter which is a great step in between the two.
Which MERV 13 Filter Size to Choose to Meet Title 24 Standards
In order for your MERV 13 air filter to have maximum filtration to block 98 percent of the contaminants in your HVAC system, make sure you choose the right size. You might even need a customized filter to fit correctly in your system.
Filter sizes usually come in one-inch, two-inch, and four-inch thicknesses. You also have to make sure you choose the right dimensions for your filters. For example, you might need a 6 ⅞ X 5 ⅞ X 1″ filter or something larger like a 19 X 19 X 4″. You can use a tape measure and an online filter finder to identify the correct size filter for your system.
It’s important to install the correct size so none of the airborne contaminants and allergens enter your living space by bypassing an incorrectly sized filter.
How Often Should You Replace Air Filters?
If you notice dust accumulating on your tables and other home surfaces, it could be a sign that your HVAC filter needs replacing. Another clue is if your heat or air conditioning is running more frequently. Most likely, your air filter is blocked with dirt, dust, and other debris.
It’s a good idea to change one-inch and two-inch filters every three months and four-inch filters every six months.
Replace your air filter right away if you notice any of the following with your filter:
- Damaged or bent fins or holes
- Musty smell
Also, If you open your windows, you might need to replace your filter more often because of outdoor pollutants and dust that flow into your home. Also, if you have pets, check your filter more often because fur and dander can quickly clog your filter.
If your filter gets clogged with dirt and dust, it won’t be able to filter out the pollutants and your HVAC system will also struggle to circulate clean air into your home. This can cause problems with the motor and other components, as well as drive your energy bill up.
Replacing your filter can prevent costly repairs and keep the air in your home clean and fresh.
MERV Filters Keep Your Home’s Air Quality Safe
Indoor air pollution can cause health problems for your family. The best way to lower the risk of airborne contaminants in your living space is to comply with the Title 24 MERV 13 requirement. Whether you use MERV 8 or MERV 13 HVAC filters (or something in between), remember to replace them regularly to keep your air clean from allergens and other pollutants.