If you have a downflow oven, it's perfectly fine to use thinner air filters. Custom-made filters are available in any size you need. These are not pre-cut, imperfect filters; they are built from the ground up with your exact measurements. I had purchased the wrong size filter and you did everything you could to get me the right ones.
My builder told me that this filter would last 6 months, but he asked me to remove the current filter, save it and use another filter and change it every month for the next 3 months. Both of these scenarios are evidence that smoke-filled air is finding its way around the clogged filter instead of going through it, and that it's time to install a new one. Moreover, incorrectly sized air filters can put too much strain on the air conditioning system, damage it, and increase energy bills. Some of the factors that influence the useful life of the filter are the quality of the outside air, the presence of pets in the house and the good maintenance of the air conditioning system.
When looking at all the particles that float in your home's air, MERV ratings reflect the performance of the filter in all its components. They are installed on wall-mounted ventilation grilles (most common in the south) or on the air controller (more common in the Mid-Atlantic and North Atlantic states, where the air controller is usually placed in the basement, near the oven). It may sound easy when you hear about “standard air filter size”; you might think that if your air filter is standard, it will be easy to find it when you get to the store. However, these filters have some drawbacks.
First, they usually cost much more than basic fiberglass filters. In reality, since the air in your home is constantly recirculating through ducts and passing through filters each time, the cumulative effect of filters increases. If the filter is too small, it will come loose and some of the air (and debris) will not pass through the air filter. In a discussion about MERV ratings from 1 to 16 which are commonly sold in retail stores, Owen said that this range “ranges from filters that can catch a golf ball (I'm exaggerating a little) to filters that catch just about anything”.
We believe that manufacturers' concerns are somewhat exaggerated, partly because a recent innovation in air filters allows for high MERV ratings (11 to 1) with a low pressure drop.