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Media Filters vs. Standard Furnace Filters: What’s the Difference?

Technician pulling put a new filter

If our residential or commercial property’s filters are doing their job, we don’t think about them. However, if the air quality and/or airflow in our home or business falls off, any issues involving air filtration in and around our property quickly become our focus. Do our filters need to be replaced? Are our filters defective? Are we using the right kind of filters? If it’s not the filters, what else could it be?

Those are the kinds of questions that flood our minds when something negative happens regarding the air quality in our homes and businesses. That’s understandable considering how much emphasis has been placed on indoor air quality the past couple of years. However, there have also been positive developments concerning indoor air quality from the last few years that home and business owners should keep in mind. One air filtration device that property owners should learn more about because it has recently become a game changer is the media filter.

What Is a Media Filter?

A media filter is a device that traps air pollutants before they enter a home or business. Media filters are housed in metal cabinet-like containers called media air cleaners. Media air cleaners are installed in an HVAC system’s return duct line, enabling media filters to capture pollutants, such as dust, dander, mold, and pollen, before they enter a business or home.

The quality of media filters is measured using a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating system. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with 16 being the best. MERV ratings measure how well media filters protect against various air pollutants.

For instance, filters with MERV ratings that fall in the 1 to 4 range protect against pollutants like carpet fibers, pollen, spray paint dust, dust mites, textile fibers, sanding dust, and cockroach debris. At the other end of the spectrum, media filters with MERV ratings of 13 to 16 can filter out any pollutants that media filters ranging from 1 to 12 can protect against, as well as things like bacteria, smoke, face powder, sneeze droplets, paint pigments, and cooking oil.

Benefits of Media Filters

Media filters have become more popular in recent years because of the benefits they provide, especially in comparison to standard furnace filters. Benefits of media filters include:

  • Upgradeable – In many cases, media filters can be upgraded without replacing the media air cleaner housing. This means you can replace a media filter with MERV rating of 11 for one with a MERV rating of 14 without having to replace the media cleaner housing, which saves you money.
  • Easy to Maintain – Media filters are simple to maintain. They are so efficient and effective that, in most cases, you will only need to replace the filter once a year (twice a year if you run the HVAC system a lot). Plus, replacing a media filter is easy. You just open the door on the media air cleaner housing, pull the old filter out, push the new filter in, close the door to the media air cleaner, and that’s it.
  • Odor Control – Media filters with carbon coated fibers can absorb odors from air as it passes through them, removing bad odors from the air before it reaches the inside of your home or business.

Why Do I Need a Media Filter If I Have a Standard Furnace Filter?

The debate between media filters and standard furnace filters is one that many in the industry have been having since media filters hit the market. Standard furnace filters are installed in homes and businesses with forced air furnaces. Standard furnace filters are made of spun glass fibers. They are designed to keep forced air furnaces and their ductwork clean, making them an important part of many HVAC systems. However, while standard furnace filters help keep forced air furnaces and ductwork clean, they don’t improve the air quality in a business or home.

Media filters on the other hand are designed to improve air quality in residential and commercial facilities. Not only do media filters help improve air quality, they also are much more effective than standard furnace filters at keeping HVAC systems, including forced air furnaces, clean.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Furnace, Heating, and Air Specialists Today!

No matter which side of the media filters vs. standard furnace filters debate you fall on, our HVAC specialists at Blazer Heating and Air can help you. Since 1989, we have been providing residential and commercial customers in the Richmond community with high quality HVAC services. Our licensed and certified technicians have an expansive knowledge of HVAC systems. This, along with our experience and skill set, enables us to handle all your heating and air conditioning needs without exceeding your budget or timeframe.

For more information about Blazer Heating and Air, check out our reviews. If you’re ready to speak with us directly about your HVAC system, reach out to us onlineor call us at (804) 277-2458 to discuss your situation or schedule a heating and air service. Emergency services available 24/7. Ask us about our specials!

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