What to Look for in an Air Filter


The quality of the air inside your home or business is essential for your health and comfort. According to the EPA, indoor air is five times more contaminated than outside air—yet we spend 90% of our time indoors.

One of the easiest ways to maintain healthy indoor air quality is by using a high-quality air filter in your HVAC system to protect your air from harmful pollutants.

However, with so many different air filter options available, it can be challenging to know which air filter to choose. The best air filter for home use will differ from the best commercial air filter. Even from one home to the next, there are many other factors to consider. Let’s explore what homeowners and business owners should look for in an air filter for their HVAC system.

Chancey & Reynolds HVAC technician changing AC Air Filter

MERV Rating

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which is a rating system that measures the effectiveness of air filters in removing particles from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at removing small particles such as pollen, pet dander, and dust. For residential use, a MERV rating between 8 and 13 is generally sufficient. For commercial use, a higher MERV rating between 13 and 16 is recommended.


It’s essential to choose an air filter that fits your HVAC system properly. Check the size of your current filter or consult your HVAC system’s manual to determine the correct size. Using an air filter that is too small or too large can reduce its effectiveness and potentially damage your HVAC system.

Type of Filter

There are several types of air filters available, including fiberglass, pleated, washable, and HEPA filters. Fiberglass filters are the most basic type and are generally less expensive. Pleated filters are more effective and can capture smaller particles than fiberglass filters. Washable filters can be reused but may not be as effective as disposable filters. HEPA filters are the most efficient and can capture up to 99.97% of particles in the air, but they are also the most expensive.

Airflow Resistance

Airflow resistance is the amount of pressure needed to push air through the filter. A filter with a high MERV rating and a dense filter media will have a higher airflow resistance, which can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. Look for air filters with a lower airflow resistance to ensure your HVAC system can operate efficiently.

Frequency of Replacement

Air filters should be replaced regularly to maintain their effectiveness. They’re easy to change—just follow these simple instructions. The frequency of replacement will depend on the type of filter, the MERV rating, and the amount of use. Generally, disposable filters should be replaced every three months, while washable filters can be cleaned and reused for up to five years.

Find the Best Air Filter

Choosing the best air filter for homes or businesses improves indoor air quality, leading to better health and comfort. Look for filters with a suitable MERV rating, the correct size, and a low airflow resistance.

Consider the type of filter and how often it needs to be replaced to ensure maximum effectiveness. By following these guidelines, you can choose an air filter that meets your specific needs and helps keep your indoor air clean and healthy.

Leading HVAC in Knoxville and Lenoir City

Chancey & Reynolds has been installing, servicing, and repairing HVAC systems in greater Knoxville since 1978. We have decades of experience with all types, makes, and models of heating and cooling systems and HVAC accessories.

Our NATE-certified technicians thoroughly evaluate your home or business’s design to recommend the best-fitting systems and energy-efficient solutions. We even offer free estimates and convenient financing options for those who qualify, so you don’t have to worry about major upfront costs. 

Commercial and residential HVAC users across Knoxville and Lenoir City trust our team of air specialists to keep their indoor air comfortable year-round.