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What Is a Media Air Filter?

What Is A Media Filter?

Media air cleaners improve your home’s indoor air quality by trapping particulates. Essentially, a media air cleaner is a filter. The media or filter traps tiny invisible air pollutant particles. These pollutants include dander, pollen, mold and dust. Media air cleaners are installed on a return duct line and trap particulates from entering your home.

How Do Media Air Cleaners Work?

A media air cleaner is a metal cabinet housing a media air filter. It is placed in the return air duct of the forced air system prior to the furnace and air handler. As air passes through the HVAC system, the media air cleaner or media air filter traps airborne particles within the filter media so they do not enter in the home.

Media Filters Vs. Standard Furnace Filters

Most houses with forced air furnaces have a standard furnace filter. A standard furnace filter is constructed from loosely woven spun-glass fibers and it is designed to keep the ductwork clean. They do not improve indoor air quality. A media filter is designed to improve indoor air quality. A media filter is made of a deeply pleated, paper-like material that removes dust, pollen, pet dander and other particles.

Because media filters are pleated and compressed, there is a lot—up to 75 square feet—of media if you stretched it out. This increased area gives the filter the ability to trap particulates and have a long life, which can exceed two years, depending on the environment.

What Is MERV Rating?

Media filters are given a MERV rating. What Does MERV stand for? MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, it is a measurement scale designed to report the effectiveness of air filters. MERV value is rated from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rating or values means a greater percentage of particles captured on each airflow pass.

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MERV Rating Performance and Application:

MERV 1 – MERV 4: Pollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, carpet fibers

MERV 5 – MERV 8: All Mer 1 through MERV 4 particulates, plus mold, spores, dust mite debris, cat and dog dander, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, pudding mix

MERV 9 – MERV 12: All Mer 1 through MERV 8 particulates, plus Legionella, lead dust, milled flour, auto emission particulates

MERV 13 – MERV 16: All Mer 1 through MERV 12 particulates, plus bacteria, sneeze droplets, cooking oil, smoke, face powder, paint pigments

Best practice is to match a media filter to your HVAC systems fan CFM. Media filters are tightly woven and can restrict a furnace’s ability to blow air through the house. To insure a steady, strong airflow through the house, choose a filter that matches your blower’s capacity.

Field Controls Media Air Cleaners Meets ANSI/ASHRAE 52.2 standards. Our metal media cabinets have a durable, powder coated finish and feature our HeavySeal™ design which provides a supertight envelope with no leakage around the filter or out of the ductwork. Unlike traditional filters, our Media Air Cleaner traps up to 100 times more while maintaining efficiency and arrestance ratings in compliance with ASHRAE Standard 52.2.


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