What Type of Air Filter Should I Use for My HVAC System?

When it comes to choosing the right air filter for your HVAC system, there are a few things to consider. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHARE) recommends a MERV 6 or higher. Most people opt for a MERV 8 filter. The style of an air filter also plays a role in its efficiency.

Common air filters include fiberglass filters, polyester filters, and ultra-efficient HEPA filters. Fiberglass air filters are disposable and the least expensive type of filter. They cause less stress on air conditioning systems when they suck in air and keep large particles out of the system. However, they don't do a great job of keeping dust and other smaller contaminating particles out. If you or someone in your family has allergies or respiratory problems, this type of filter may not be powerful enough to help alleviate or prevent respiratory problems.

It will usually have a MERV 4 rating. To measure filter efficiency, experts use the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). MERV is a graph that classifies filters based on their ability to capture particles. The rating ranges from 1 to 16, and 16 are awarded to the types of air filters with the best filtering capacity. MERV ratings for different types of filters vary depending on their quality and manufacturer. It is always mentioned on the package.

Despite their popularity, these filters don't contribute much to indoor air quality. They can only filter about 20% of particles that are between 3.0 and 10.0 microns in size. Particles of this size only include dust, carpet fibers, and pollen. The pleated filters consist of a medium fabric made of polyester or cotton. The material is organized in folds to increase the surface area of the filter.

Therefore, filters that have more folds are more effective than those with fewer folds. These filters are slightly more expensive than fiberglass filters. But they are also more effective against contaminants. They even capture smaller air pollutants, such as pollen, pet dander and mold spores. Pleated filters are available in reusable and disposable versions. Because of the high efficiency of these filters, they are popular among people who have an allergy to air conditioning or other respiratory problems.

However, these filters are more expensive than fiberglass filters and pleated filters. UV light filters kill bacteria and viruses with short-wave UV light. The germicidal radiation from the UV lamp in these filters disinfects the air in its path. They're also great for eliminating harmful microorganisms from your space, such as mold spores. Second, while UV light filters remove bacteria and viruses from the air, they do little to combat contaminants such as dust. As a result, these filters are generally part of a more advanced filtration mechanism, such as HEPA filters. These filters create static electricity by using a mix of cotton and paper fibers.

This static then acts like a magnet and traps contaminants inside the filter screen. Because this prevents allergens from spreading in the home, electrostatic filters are ideal for people who have allergies. Electrostatic filters often also have a carbon filter to improve efficiency. This type of AC filter can be flat panel or pleated. They also come in washable and disposable versions. Multimedia filters consist of a material similar to paper folded in folds inside a metal cabinet.

While the filter is no larger than six inches, the pleated material can cover 75 square feet when unfolded. This larger surface area makes media filters seven times more effective than standard types of air filters. The large surface area also explains the extended lifespan of multimedia filters. These filters can last up to 2 years, depending on the environment. Experts recommend that people who live in industrial areas or with a weak immune system opt for multimedia filters instead of other types of air conditioning filters. As a general rule, it is recommended to clean air conditioning filters every 250 hours of use.

While this cleaning is essential, it can often go unnoticed on your to-do list. We recommend using smart thermostats or smart AC controllers that send reminders when the next cleaning is due. The electrostatic filters, which range from MERV 2 to 10, have self-charged fibers that attract particles from the air without increasing the tightness of the fabric. Therefore, to choose the type of HVAC filter that is most suitable for your home, you must understand how well each type of filter material works. Learn about the different types of home air filters to help you decide which one might be right for you. Also consider running the system fan for longer or continuously since HVAC systems filter air only when the fan is running. Checking the dimensions of your current air filter is the easiest way to determine the size you'll need.

If you or your family have allergies or other respiratory problems, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are recommended. Air filters also help keep the furnace's coils and heat exchangers clean which can extend the life of the oven and keep it running efficiently. However one of the main advantages of a thicker air filter with larger folds is that they don't need to be replaced as often. The oven has to work a little harder to push air through a pleated filter but the resulting improvement in indoor air quality is often worth it: the increase in energy costs. Using wet filters can cause mold and bacteria to build up which will reduce indoor air quality. The primary function of HVAC air filters is to remove harmful particles from the air as it flows through the system. They filter dust pollen pet dander and other small particles from the air you and your family breathe.

Michael Morton
Michael Morton

Devoted internet maven. Hipster-friendly web practitioner. Avid pop culture nerd. Lifelong music lover. Avid pop culture specialist.

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