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Air Filters Definition Guide

An air filter is a critical part of any ventilation system for homes and businesses alike. The air going through your home is not always naturally clean. The air outside can be full of nasty contaminants, irritants, and pollutants just waiting to try to enter a building. When you are handling problems with an air filter, it is in your best interests to stay informed.

Terms to Know

Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): The measurement of a furnaces heating efficiency. A furnace with high AFUE ratings is more efficient, with an established minimum percentage of 78%.

Airflow: The distribution or movement of air through a ventilation system. Airflow helps dictate energy costs and affects building temperature. Restricted airflow leads to stale, dry air quality.

Air Handler or Coil Boiler: The part of an air conditioner you will find indoors pumping air through your home’s ductwork systems. It is usually found in the form of the furnace or blower coil.

Combined Annual Efficiency (CAE): The measurement system that equates heat to the dollar value of consumed fuel. It is used to determine the costs of home or water heating.

Central Air Conditioning System: The system where a central location treats your home’s air and distributes it. The system uses fans and ducts to spread air throughout your home.

Compressor: A cooling agent in an outdoor air conditioner or heat pump that pushes refrigerant into your home.

Condenser Coil: A heating agent in an air conditioner or heat pump that pushes heat throughout your home. Heating is relative to the season.

Condensing Unit: A unit outside the home that contains the compressor and condenser coil.

Decibel (dB): The average unit you use to measure sound.

The Department of Energy (DOE): A federal agency that sets the industry standards for filter efficiency and energy resource use. This organization offers detailed reports on how to conserve energy in your home.

Electronic Air Cleaner: A device that cleans the bio-aerosols and large particles out of indoor air.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The agency that oversees federal environmental regulations. The EPA also oversees the Energy Star® program which rates HVAC systems on their ability to match or exceed energy efficiency guidelines.

Evaporator Coil: A heat absorber found inside an air conditioner or heat pump. The coil is primarily inside the air handler.

Heat Exchanger: A heat exchanger that raises the temperature of the surrounding air. The air is then transferred into the rest of the house.

Heat Pump: An HVAC unit that moves heat to change temperatures. The heat pump brings heat in or out depending on the heat and outdoor temperatures.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): The rating for heat pumps, with higher ratings equaling greater efficiency.

Humidifier: A device used to moisturize heated air as it is distributed throughout your home. The moisturized air passes from the furnace into your home’s ductwork.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): The system that provides heating, cooling and raised air quality through a single network.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) Rating: The MERV rating of a filter describes that filters efficiency. Air filters with higher MERV ratings block out smaller airborne particles but also restrict air flow. The higher MERV rated filters are used for hospitals and laboratories while the average home uses midrange MERV rated filters.

Micron: The unit of measurement equivalent to one thousandth of a milliliter and one millionth of a meter.

Odors and/or Chemicals: Airborne irritants, contaminants or pollutants able to enter unfiltered residences.

Refrigerant: A cooling agent that uses chemical processes to expand or vaporize. Freon and R410A are among the moist used and talked about refrigerants used today. Refrigerant lines connect the indoor evaporator coil to the outdoor air conditioner.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): A rating system that gauges energy efficiency for air conditioners. The higher a SEER rating the more you save, there is a DOE established minimum level of 10.

Purchase the Right Air Filters for Your Home

The indoor air quality of your home is important to the health of the residents living inside. When you know the terms for filter maintenance, it is easier to know what your HVAC system requires. We provide low cost, high quality filters to help keep your ventilation system clean and pumping in fresh, healthy air.