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Testing Airflow Efficiency with Different Filters

All right guys, today we are embarking on a journey of discovery centred around testing and replacing filters for the purpose of increasing the airflow in your space. For context, airflow is an essential element in ensuring your living space is adequately ventilated, comfortable, and free from pollutants. However, the trick lies in consistently maintaining this airflow at optimum levels, a task that hinges greatly on the type of filters in use.

The Airflow Challenge in Our Test Case

In our case, the testing ground is a room with strategically placed filters designed to facilitate better airflow. Unfortunately, the space had a shortage of filters, especially in certain places which necessitated the introduction of more. The predicament was noticeable because the original filters – Merv six filters to be exact, appeared to be too restrictive for the airflow, especially on the exhaust side.

Likewise, when the door was shut, the restriction was even more evident. As a methodical step to record this restrictive airflow experience, I made a small mark on the filter. This mark was meant to serve as a reference point to ensure the success of subsequent tests could be accurately measured.

Introducing the Boar’s Hair Merv 3 Filter

By happy accident, I stumbled upon a Boar’s hair Merv 3 filter that seemed to be an intriguing prospect. The Merv 3, which comes in a massive roll, was of significant interest primarily due to its massive size and distinguishable characteristics.

After acquiring the Merv 3, I decided to give it a shot, starting by cutting it into appropriate sizes. These newly cut filters were designed to replace their existing, less efficient Merv 6 counterparts. Hence, the testing challenge was now afoot – Will this new filter change the game and increase the airflow?

A Comparative Look at the Merv 3 and Merv 6 Filters

Before getting into the test, I thought it would be insightful to offer a quick preview of each of the filters. The fresh Merv 3 was visibly more porous, allowing for clear visibility through it, unlike the existing Merv 6. This difference hinted at the Merv 3’s probable superior performance owing to its less restrictive structural makeup.

Putting The Filters Under The Test

After putting the new intakes (Merv 3 filters) in place, it was time to put them to a litmus test. The process was relatively straightforward – carefully observing the airflow once the filters were introduced into the setup. After the testing, the verdict was clear.

The Verdict: Increased Fan Speed and Improved Airflow

After the installation and subsequent testing of the new Merv 3 filters, there was a noticeable increase in the fan speed. The test had proven beneficial, and the restrictive airflow problem that had initially been marked was no more. It was clear then that the switch not only alleviated the restrictive flow but allowed for a more efficient and fast-moving airflow.

So yes, as it turns out, filter replacements can significantly affect your airflow, and hence your comfort. If you’re keen on experimenting with these changes, the link provided below should guide you on acquiring new filters.

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About the Author: Mike Izzo


  1. In industry, we use multi-stage systems. We would have the course filters that we change monthly. Then we would have some pretty filters like the ones you were using downstream, and those would get changed every 3-6 months. It was described to me by an old timer, you throw away cheap all the time, so that you throw away expensive not very often. 😉

  2. I ended up being able to put filters in ALL the Gable Vents and Still increase the Airspeed by 2, up to a speed of 7 on each of the AC Infinity T16 Shutter Fans. At 10 they are at 2500 CFM. Huge Win!

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