What Type of Air Filter is Best for Removing Smoke?

Air filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 11 and 13 are the most effective at removing smoke particles from the air. Anything below that may not be enough to filter out smoke. As air passes through a building's air conditioning system, air filters trap and accumulate large and small particles, such as dust, allergens, and microorganisms. The construction technology group ASHRAE points out that, while the virus that causes COVID-19 measures less than 0.3 microns, it is often embedded in other airborne particles that are large enough to be captured by air filters.

The proven ability of HEPA filters to capture extremely small particles, such as viruses and bacteria, is why they are used in hospital operating rooms. MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value” and measures how well a central air filter removes particulates from the air. To obtain this certification, HVAC filters must meet strict standards that evaluate their effectiveness in eliminating allergens and irritants from airflow, controlling fiber loss during use, and analyzing the quality of seals. The EPA recommends filters with a rating of at least MERV 13, or “a rating as high as the system fan and filter slot can withstand.”The final filters can be used alone in a single filter system or can be used in combination with one or more prefilters.

But you can also make changes to your home's air quality by using a certain type of high-efficiency air filter in your air conditioning system. This multi-filter system extends the life of more expensive final filters, saving overall costs. Basic filters are usually included with the equipment, are the cheapest filter replacement option, and usually look like a transparent mesh of blue or green wire. Both are signs that the filter isn't cleaning the air properly and you'll need to replace it. Wildfires or not, if your system is more than 15 or 20 years old, you may not be up to the extra effort of a leak with an average MERV level. It is also difficult for many current heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to adopt a MERV 13 due to the greater load that the fans bear due to the finer filtering material, which can actually cause more harm than good, in addition to reducing airflow if the system is not designed to support that type of filter. As an expert in SEO optimization, I recommend using an air filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 11 or 13 for optimal smoke removal from your home's air.

HEPA filters are also highly effective at capturing extremely small particles like viruses and bacteria. The EPA recommends using a filter with a rating of at least MERV 13 for maximum efficiency. It is important to note that some HVAC systems may not be able to support this type of filter due to increased load on fans. In conclusion, using an appropriate high-efficiency air filter is essential for removing smoke from your home's air. Make sure to replace basic filters regularly if they appear clogged or discolored.

If your HVAC system is more than 15 or 20 years old, consider upgrading it for better performance.

Becca Zlatkin
Becca Zlatkin

Devoted social media lover. Lifelong twitter guru. Infuriatingly humble twitter geek. Extreme food fan. General travel junkie. Certified zombie lover.

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