To maintain the air quality inside your home, the air filters of your HVAC system works as the first line of defense. The main task of the air filter is to trap or catch the pollens, germs, dirt, and dust particles before the air is blown throughout the house. It also protects the internal components of the HVAC system by keeping them clean and making them work smoothly.
But, out of numerous air filters available out there, which ones best suit your particular HVAC system is often times not such an easy question to answer. Getting the “usual cheapest one” is not always a wise choice.
So, to make your task easier, we can assist you in selecting the air filter that best compliments the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system. So, let’s get started.
Getting Knowledgeable About the Types of Air Filters
There are a variety of air filters available in the marketplace. Knowing the types of filters makes it easier to understand which one will be right for your individual HVAC system, helping you make an informed decision.
Pleated Air Filters
Pleated filters are a bit bent, just like an accordion shape, with the primary goal to fit in more surface area for trapping as many particles as possible. These filters are moderately thick and are usually made of a cotton-polyester blend or a special synthetic material. These types of filters are a good option for those who look to improve indoor air quality.
The pleated filters usually have a larger surface area than any other type of filter. These filters even come with a nice density which allows them to catch small dust particles and air contaminants like pollen, mold spores, pet dander, etc. Pleated filters are disposable ones and last long too.
Also Read: Fiberglass Vs Pleated Air Filters: Which is Better?
Flat Panel Air Filters
Flat-panel filters are constructed on a flat cardboard frame, just like the name suggests. In their construction, fibrous materials such as polyester, fiberglass, or other types of efficient synthetic material are used. These filters are budget-friendly, but they are less efficient in comparison to pleated filters too. They target to trap the bigger debris and dirt particle.
The 1-inch disposable fiberglass filters are not productive in catching small, life-threatening contaminants. But, they come fitted in most of the HVAC filters. Compared to this one, the synthetic material air filters are a bit more efficient. They are thicker and better at improving the air quality. However, we recommend that if you find any of the flat panel filters in your HVAC system, it’s better to change it to an efficient one.
Washable Air Filters
On the first look, washable filters seem like a good option as there will be no need to change them frequently. Choosing these custom air filters will be an ecological choice on your part, but they are less efficient and get dirty frequently. Continuous or daily washing may develop mildew and bacteria in it, and finally, you have to change it.
HEPA Filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air)
High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters are such filters that have the capability to capture approximately 99.97% of particles of 0.3μm or larger. This means that even the minute contaminants like particles of smoke as well as several bacteria and viruses can easily be trapped by it.
Given its quality and capability, this filter may seem the most favorable choice, but it’s not always true. It does catch most of the air particulates, but in many cases, it also slows down the airflow due to its high density. As most of the home HVAC systems do not consist of any fan or motor powerful enough to force out the air, using a HEPA filter may damage the whole system.
So, depending on your HVAC system, you can decide or ask a professional whether the HEPA filter will be suitable for your home system or not.
Check Air Filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) Rating
Once you decide which type of air filter is suitable for your HVAC system, the next step is deciding the filter’s trapping efficiency. The best way to do so is by checking the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of the air filter. This rating reports the filter’s ability to trap the percentage of particles of different sizes.
MERV rating is assigned between the range of 1 to 20. A higher rating indicates higher efficiency.
MERV in the Range of 1 to 4
Air filters between this range only offer a minimum level of filtration. Fiberglass filters usually come under this category. They clog quickly, and you need to change them every 1 to 3 months.
MERV in the Range of 5 to 8
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) usually considers air filters within the range of 7 to 13 equivalent to HEPA filters. But, if you are looking for a cost-efficient option that can get the work done, then MERV 7 and 8 filter is your sweet spot. They are better than low-efficiency filters and a budget-friendly option in the long run.
MERV in the Range of 9 to 12
Pleated air filters made with synthetic material usually comes under this category. They can trap around 95% of particles and are suitable for people having respiratory issues. They can last up to 6 months.
MERV Rating of 13 and above
Air filters falling under this range are the most efficient ones. But, picking up highly efficient air filters is not always a wise choice. These filters can reduce the performance of your HVAC by restricting airflow. So always consult a technician before finalizing these filters.
Go Through The Manufacturer’s Recommended Filter Change Schedule
The manufacturers usually print the air filter care and change recommendations on the packaging. It mainly depends on the type of filter and your home conditions. The main factors that affect the filter’s ability and change cycle are:
- Filter’s type.
- The efficiency level of the filter.
- Frequency of running A/C or furnace.
- Indoor and outdoor air quality.
- The number of family members.
- The number of pets.
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Selecting the filters that are right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.