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Home Air Filtration

Projects Made EasyFilters for your residential air conditioning and furnace systems are one of the most important items to maintain; yet because they’re not highly visible, many of us forget to change them out on a consistent basis. The information below is designed to give you a basic understanding of air filter maintenance and which filter is right for your home.

Marvin's Air Filtration Comparison

flat panel air filter   filtrete black   filtrete blue   filtrete red

Flat Panel

  Dust Reduction
Filtrete 300
  Dust & Pollen
Filtrete 600
  Micro Allergen
Reduction Filtrete 1000
Only catches large particles   Catches household dush   Catches dust, pollen, mold
spores & pet dander
  Catches microscopic allergens, dust, pollen, smoke, mold spores & pet dander
Must be changed ever 30 days   Must be changed every 30 days   Must be changed every 90 days   Must be changed every 90 days
Costs under $1.50 each   Costs under $5.00 each   Costs under $9.00 each   Costs under $12.00 each


3 Reasons to Change your Air Filter at appropriate intervals:

  1. Air filters prolong the life of your air conditioning unit:
    Air filters prolong the life of your air conditioning unit, by keeping harmful particles from the blower motor and coil. The blower motor can burn out if not kept clean and cost more than $200 to replace. A coil can freeze up if it becomes dirty resulting in compressor failure. A new compressor can cost over $1000. Additionally, by not changing your filters every month, you can do the same damage to your unit’s motor by restricting the airflow needed to prevent the motor from being overworked. Considering the potential costs of repairs, filters are very inexpensive.
  2. Cut down on your energy cost:
    The second reason for changing your air filters regularly is to cut down on your energy cost. A dirty air filter can increase your energy cost by 35% by causing your a/c unit to work harder and run longer to maintain the desired temperature you want.
  3. Promotes better air quality in your home:
    The third reason to change your air filters regularly and upgrading to a higher-grade filter is that it promotes better air quality in your home. Replacing your filter on a regular basis will cut down on airborne particles that can aggravate allergies and carry viruses.

Filter Performance Ratings. What is MPR?

  • Typically, air filters are rated by the size of the particles they can remove. Most good furnace filters can easily remove particles larger than 10 microns in size, but the best filters are able to remove particles smaller than 3 microns. One micron is one millionth of a meter or approximately 1/25,000 of an inch. For comparison, a human hair is about 70 microns thick.

  • Most pleated filters have a performance rating that is assigned a number to indicate the level of effectiveness. Generally the higher this number is, the higher the performance of the filter.

  • The 3M Filtrete MPR stands for Micro-particle Performance Rating. The 3M MPR rating focuses on the smallest and most troublesome particles - those between 0.3 and 1.0 Microns in size. Generally speaking, a filter with an MPR of 1000 is twice as effective at removing those tiny particles as a filter with a 500 MPR.

Type of Air Filters – How to choose one right for you

  • Flat panel fiberglass filters- This is the lowest cost filter available under $1.50 retail each. This is the least   effective filter in terms of particle filtration, but is good for protecting equipment if changed regularly. Flat panel filters are designed to catch only larger particles, allowing smaller particles to pass through. Flat panel filters have no performance rating due to their low efficiency. The recommendation is to replace flat panel filters every 30 days.

  • The second type of filter is the basic pleated filter like the 3M 300 Dust Reducing Filter. Compared to flat panel filters, the pleated filter is 5 times more effective in catching airborne particles than flat panel filters allow to pass through. The retail for a basic pleated filter is under $5.00 each. Because they catch smaller particles, they are more efficient than fiberglass filters. They reduce energy costs by keeping your unit cleaner, as well as keeping your air quality at a higher standard. Basic pleated filters, based on testing of residential systems need to be replaced every 30 days. The MPR rating on basic pleated filters ranges from 300 to 500.

  • The final type of filter we will discuss is the electrostatic pleated filter like this 3M 600 Dust and Pollen reducing filter or the 3M 1000 Micro Allergen filter. Electrostatic filters have media that is charged with electric current during the manufacturing process, allowing the filter to attract smaller particles; much like a magnet attracts metal. 3M electrostatic filters have both positive & negative charges to attract dust no matter which charge it holds. Electrostatic filters are up to 18 times more effective than flat panel filters and have MPR rating of 600 to 1000. The average retail on this type of filter is from $7.86 to $ 10.96 each. These filters are designed to be replaced every 90 days. Considering the lifespan of these electrostatic filters, they not only do a better job of cleaning the air in your home but the cost less on a monthly basis because they don’t have to be changed as often.

Basic pleated 30 day filter costs just over $4.50 per month
An electrostatic 90 day filter costs $3.65 per month or less