Premium/Allergen Furnace Filters?

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Jun 9, 2014
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Central Oklahoma
Looking for opinions on which filters to buy for my HVAC system. The last year or two, spring has really kicked my rear in the allergy department. I've always bought the cheap pleated filters (3 pack for ~$9 at Lowe's/Depot) and my setup requires two 12x24x1 filters. The cheap fiberglass filters just seem too subpar and remind me of a K&N on a car... So my questions are: *Is it worth it to invest extra for the premium allergen filters? *Do they really work? *Are they harmful to the system in any way (more restrictive airflow)? *Are there any good options for <$10/filter? *Should I consider a completely different air filtration method? And the more interesting question: Would it be better to use two allergen filters at the same time, or just one along with a standard pleated filter (considering filtration, airflow, and effectiveness)? Thanks in advance!
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
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Phoenix
I would not exceed Merv 11, because of air flow. 3M Filtrete makes claims about filtering allergens, and the quality seems good compared to others. Found good prices on Amazon.
 

JC1

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Nov 29, 2008
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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
+1 on the he filtrete. Give them a try. Up in Canada the standard size is 16*24*1 and they usually have them on sale twice a year at Costco and Lowe's. Maybe your forced air system needs a cleaning if you are suffering so much with allergies. I have bad hay fever allergies, so I know how it can be.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
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The Midwest
It is absolutely worth it. There are different grades of furnace filters and in my experience, MERV 13 does the trick. Keep in mind you should clean any carpet, rugs, furniture, drapes, couch pillows and evaluate your mattress as part of the solution. I doctored my ragweed allergy and it is no longer an issue however. I still use a good filter to make guest comfortable in my home just in case.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2013
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3M refuses to quote any industry standard for filtration or airflow. Their products filter well, but are very restrictive. If using them, leave the fan running and let it filter constantly throughout the most problematic season. Then replace it with a standard high airflow filter. Expect your HVAC system to be less efficient. If you have a modern system, it will immediately demand you change the clogged air filter. You could try one teaspoon of local honey a day, to build up immunity.
 
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Aug 21, 2008
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ON, Canada eh?
3M Filters up here in Canada are ridiculously priced and rarely go on sale so I use Aerostar (generic brand) Merv 8 in the summer so my A/C coil doesn't freeze from lack of airflow and then in the winter I use Merv 11 when we have the windows closed most of the season. I can see my "A" coil because I have access panels cut in ducts and it's spotlessly clean in there. I wouldn't waste the money on 3M filters. I have bad lungs and I'm fine with Merv 8 / 11 filters.
 
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Originally Posted by Char Baby
Is/is not MERV 13 OK for normal use?
Anything higher than Merv 11 can restrict airflow and it's not recommended on the 1" width filters. I would only do that on the 4" wide box type filters where you have more surface area so you don't choke the circulation fan as this can cause stress on that motor and also cause your furnace to shut down under high temperature limit or freeze your A/C coil due to lack of air flow. In my case because we have really humid summers I have to drop down to a Merv 8 filter for the summer or my A/C coil freezes as the filter loads up with dust if I use the finer Merv 11 filter.
 
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OVERKILL

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I use a MERV 13 (3M blue, 1900MPR) and don't find it negatively impacts my furnace's performance. We have two dogs and two cats, and the house is ancient, so keeping the dust under control is paramount.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
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Most HVAC contractors tend to not put enough returns on most systems, which may explain why MERV 13 clogs some peoples systems quicker. A while back I redid my returns and have (3) 14x30 returns supplying a 4ton system with 1600 CFM. I have no problems running the tightest pleated 3M Filtrete filters. So YMMV.
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
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ROCHESTER, NY
Originally Posted by StevieC
Originally Posted by Char Baby
Is/is not MERV 13 OK for normal use?
Anything higher than Merv 11 can restrict airflow and it's not recommended on the 1" width filters. I would only do that on the 4" wide box type filters where you have more surface area so you don't choke the circulation fan as this can cause stress on that motor and also cause your furnace to shut down under high temperature limit or freeze your A/C coil due to lack of air flow. In my case because we have really humid summers I have to drop down to a Merv 8 filter for the summer or my A/C coil freezes as the filter loads up with dust if I use the finer Merv 11 filter.
My furnace filter is 16"x25"x5". What do you suggest in terms of MERV rating/value? My furnace & AC system came with MERV 8, should I stay with the MERV 8?
 
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Joined
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Because you are 5" wide I would try the 13 (Which is approaching HEPA type filtration levels). But before you do see how what kind of air flow you get from the vents before/after switching to it. [Linked Image]
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
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Yeah I mean, we're happy with the MERV 8 but we can get the higher MERV 13 rating cheaper online for some reason... $32 for 2 filters($16/ea). IDKY! But, I don't want to over work my furnace/blower and raise my monthly bills due to more restriction either. smile
 
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