What kind of filter should I use in my home HVAC system?

December 15, 2023
What kind of filter should I use in my home HVAC system?

Hidden away in your basement or attic, the air filter in your HVAC system is something you probably don’t think about much. But a good air filter keeps your central air conditioner (and furnace) humming along by protecting the mechanicals from dust and debris. And the best filters trap indoor pollutants such as dust, pet dander, and pollen, helping to clean the air in your home so it’s better for you to breathe.

That’s important because the concentration of air pollutants inside your home can be two to five times higher than concentrations typically found outdoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. An effective, snug-fitting HVAC filter can also help filter the air inside your home when air quality outdoors is poor, the EPA says.


High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are recommended by the U.S. Department of Health because they are able to remove at least 99.97% of airborne allergens and pollutants — including mold spores and dust that are as small as 0.3 microns. They’re able to remove even the smallest microns or airborne particles, including tobacco and bacteria.


UV filters/ UV lights use short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. When air passes through the HVAC unit, the UV lights will disinfect it with radiation. UV filters are excellent for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to your health. These lightbulbs generally need to be replaced every year.ELECTROSTATIC


Using small cotton and paper fibers, electrostatic filters create static that acts as a magnet for dust and other airborne particles. The magnetism is strong enough that it keeps these particles from spreading throughout your facility. They are available as disposable as well as reusable. When it comes time to change the filters, you can decide whether to wash and reuse them or to get brand new ones.


While certain types of air filters come with reusable and disposable options, washable filters are an environmentally friendly way to save money. These are usually found in mini-split systems and can be used as an alternative to buying new ones every few months.Washable filters need to be maintained well to ensure they work as they should. It’s very important to make sure the filter is fully dry before putting it back in. Even the slightest bit of moisture left can lead to mold and mildew developing on the filter and then put into the space you breathe Failure to maintain a washable filter will reduce its effectiveness and does not have a high MERV rating.


When it comes to air filters for HVAC systems, media filters can provide more benefits than standard filters with high MERV ratings. Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a high-MERV filter, but they do it without the negative consequences of airflow or static pressure. Instead, media filters have a greater surface area, which successfully prevents significant static pressure while providing better filtration.


Strands of fiberglass are spun together to create this type of filter, which is one of the most common types of HVAC filters. It comes standard in most HVAC units because it is extremely cost-effective, disposable and it protects HVAC systems from debris. These filters aren’t what you would want if you wanted to improve air quality since they are unable to strain very much and can only trap some dust and allergens.


Polyester fabrics or cotton folds are two HVAC filter materials used in pleated filters. Pleated filters have a MERV rating between 5 and 13.While they can effectively filter dust and other airborne pollutants, they provide low air filtration and are less resistant to airflow.The pleats in these filters give them an advantage over non-pleated options because they increase the filter’s surface area for better filtering. Filters with more pleats will provide better filtering than those with fewer pleats, trapping even difficult allergens and pollutants. You would need to get these changed out every 3-6 months.

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