The Top Three Factors in Choosing the Right HVAC Filter

With people spending more time at home, indoor air quality (IAQ) is on the minds of homeowners today more than ever. And with newer homes being built tighter than in the past, allowing considerably less air leakage, recirculating air particulates can become problematic.

Now’s the time to help homeowners take action
Spring is always a smart time to help homeowners focus on indoor air quality, and that’s especially true this year. A variety of factors have come together to drive IAQ awareness and make filtration solutions vitally important, including:

  • - Spring allergy season, with its surge of airborne pollens
  • - Extended at-home time for most families, which generates added dust, air particles, cooking odors and more
  • - Increasing indoor humidity levels, dampness and mustiness with the arrival of summer’s warm, moist air

Balance these 3 features when analyzing air filters
HVAC systems have been called “the lungs of the home,” because they’re responsible for cycling the air in the home to help optimize homeowner comfort. Filters, of course, are a critical part of any HVAC system. When it comes to HVAC filters, filtration performance is important – but it’s not everything. When selecting a filter, balance these three factors:

Efficiency Image
#1: Efficiency – How much is captured?
Like most manufacturers, we use the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating system in quantifying our Honeywell Home filters’ efficiency in capturing both microscopic and macroscopic air particles. The MERV system, which is used both domestically and internationally, is based on a filtration scale from ASHRAE of 1 (lowest) to 16 (highest).


  • o Filters with lower MERV ratings trap lint and household dust – their purpose is to help protect the HVAC equipment. Filters with higher MERV ratings deliver even finer filtration and are capable of capturing pet dander, pollens, mold spores, smoke and more.
  • o However, it’s important to note that while MERV is the primary rating system featured in the HVAC industry, there are two other filtration rating protocols in use:
    •  Micro-Particle Performance Rating (MPR): This system was developed by 3M to measure a filter’s ability to capture airborne particles smaller than 1 micron.
    •  Filter Performance Rating (FPR): This rating structure, which was developed by Home Depot for brands sold through its stores, is very similar to MERV but uses a scale of 4 (lower) to 10 (higher).
  • o See the matrix below for a comparison of filtration efficiencies based on common MERV, MPR and FPR ratings. Note that filtration is only effective when the system fan is ON and air is circulating.
Best home air filter MERV rating chart
Pressure Drop image

#2: Pressure drop – How much airflow is restricted? Higher-rated filters with advanced MERV, MPR or FPR numbers can restrict air flow. This can make the HVAC system work harder to circulate air and increase energy costs for homeowners, depending on their system’s blower motor and fan speed settings.

  • o Make sure you take pressure-drop factors into account and select filters that match the features and capabilities of the given HVAC system.
Filter Life Image

#3: Filter life – How much will the filter hold and how long will it last?
While typical 1-inch fiberglass filters are usually replaced once per month, wider high-end filters can perform effectively for much longer. In fact, 4-inch filters with pleat designs feature a much larger surface, so

  • o Many replaceable Honeywell Home pleated 4-inch filters with 11+ MERV ratings can last 6 to 12 months, based on normal household conditions.
  • o 4-inch filters that require less frequent replacement are ideal for homeowners who might forget to replace filters monthly. Scheduling 4-inch filter replacement with annual or semi-annual maintenance appointments can reduce that burden for them and enhance your reputation for great service.

Our powerhouse F100, F200 and F300 solutions bring it all home
Not all HVAC filters are created equal. For proven filtration performance and cost-effective results your customers will appreciate, choose these whole-home solutions from Honeywell Home by Resideo:

  • - F300 Electronic Air Cleaner: This high-efficiency, eco-friendly solution features a 3-stage filtration system that captures the majority of airborne particles passing through the filter. The prefilter and cells simply need to be cleaned periodically – there’s no need for replacement filters!
  • - F200 Media Air Cleaner: Carrying a MERV-13 rating, the 4-inch F200 can capture microscopic airborne particles such as dust and smoke as well as larger contaminants like mold spores and pet dander passing through the filter. Plus, it only needs replacing every 6 to 12 months, depending on use.
  • - F100 Media Air Cleaner: Rated MERV-11, our F100 can capture microscopic particles* that pass through it, and is tested to a static pressure drop of just 0.23” W.C.

Want to learn more? View our Filtration Webinar for the latest filtration insights and visit the Resideo Website for product details and specifications.

*ASHRAE tests conducted at LMS Technologies