Which Air Filters Are Best for Smoke?

The Pacific Northwest is seeing record devastation due to wildfires. This has left thousands of people evacuated and the aftermath of the smoke has produced air quality that is the worst in the world. We have received a lot of calls in the last week asking about air filters and how air purification systems can provide clean air. Here are some important must knows.

What does an air filter do?
Air filters play a big role in the overall functionality of your home’s cooling and heating system. The filters essentially do what their name says: they filter the air. That means the air that’s coming from outside, travels through the machine and toxins, pollutants, and other harmful particles are filtered out. Your air filter traps these, and it collects on the filter.

You should clean or replace your filter every other month, or more often if you have pets or are experiencing a high level of pollution or smoke, like we currently are in the Northwest.  Furnace filters with a thickness of one inch, usually need to be changed more often. But, if it’s thicker – up to 4 inches, it will not need to be changed as much. That’s because it has more layers and surface area to collect debris.

What is a MERV rating?
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating measures how much matter passes through your air filter. The ratings are from 1 to 16 – the higher the number, the better the filter.   The different values are very helpful when comparing performance of different filters.

See below or visit the EPA website here for more information.

  • 1 to 4 MERV rating: captures particles that are bigger than 10 micrometers, such as bugs dust mites, and other household debris
  • 5 to 8 MERV rating: catches particles bigger than 3 micrometers, such as mold and pet dander
  • 9 to 12 MERV rating: catches particles bigger than 1 micrometer, including dust and other common pollutants
  • 13 to 16 MERV rating: captures particles greater than 0.3 micrometers such as bacteria or smoke/pollution

*Particles of smoke are smaller; an air filter with a MERV rating of 11 or higher would be efficient enough to remove them.

We install a variety of air purification systems that can help you breathe cleaner air. One of our most popular products is the Carrier Infinity DGAPA Air Purifier. This has a MERV rating of 15. It works alongside your heating and cooling system, using Carrier’s unique Capture and Kills™ technology that traps up to 95% of particles, killing or inactivating them with an electrical charge.

Contact us today for questions about your air filters. We’ll help you select an air purification system that’s right for you.

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