You may not put much thought into choosing the right air filter for your New Jersey home’s furnace or central air conditioner. Buying and choosing the right air filter, however, can mean the difference between a season of comfort and a season of sickness.

Why Have an Air Filter?

Your home’s HVAC equipment is delicate inside, and the various mechanisms are not meant to be bombarded with the gritty matter. Particulates brought into your house on the family shoes can become airborne, then travel through ductwork and impact both furnace and air conditioner parts. The air filter’s main job is to prevent dirt and grit from clogging your HVAC components. By choosing the right air filter, you can protect your furnace while improving your home’s indoor air quality.

Filter Efficiency

How well a particular filter removes particulates that could damage your furnace or your family’s lungs is easy to determine. Choosing the right air filter means selecting the right minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). Filters are available up to MERV 20, but such a dense filter could affect furnace airflow. The cheapest, disposable, flat filter may have a MERV rating of three or four and be of little value in improving indoor air quality. Some general benchmarks:

  • Select MERV seven to 16 for maximum efficiency.
  • Inspect filters every month and replace or clean filters often.
  • Pleated Filter—MERV eight, blocking particles as small as hair spray aerosols and mold spores.
  • Deep Media Filter—MERV 16, blocking particles as small as sneeze droplets.


Choosing the right air filter begins with determining the exact size needed for your equipment. Even the highest MERV filter is useless if gaps around the filter allow unfiltered air to pass through your ductwork. Plan ahead and always have a correctly sized, spare filter on hand, in case the old filter gets clogged sooner than anticipated.

Sizing also refers to thickness. Deep-media filters can be up to six inches thick, requiring professional installation and maintenance.

For more guidance on choosing the right furnace filter for your New Jersey home’s HVAC system, contact us at Pipe Works Services

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