HVAC Filters: What Works for You

How often are you changing your HVAC filters? Are you getting your filters replaced once a month? If you aren’t, you better be! HVAC filters play an important role in keeping the indoor air you breathe a quality one and at the same time making sure that you have an energy efficient heating and cooling system. Keep in mind that HVAC filters protect your unit including you and your family’s health. Yes, that is how important these filters are.

In a research done by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers in 2009, they have proven that HVAC units with filters that are not clean and regularly changed decrease in energy efficiency by about 10 percent or even more. That ultimately means that because of dirty filters, homeowners aren’t getting the best deal out of their buck.

How do you choose the right filter that will actually work for you? For starters, it is best to be aware of the different kinds of filters that are available in the market today. You also need to be well informed of each filter’s measure of effective, also known as minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). MERV rating ranges from 1 to 16 – 1 being the least effective and 16 as the highest rating.

Types of Filters

Fiberglass Filters

If you are wondering about fiberglass air filters, these are filters that feature a very thin and flat panel surface used to trap air particles. Fiberglass filters were mainly made to protect the HVAC unit itself, not necessarily to improve the quality of your indoor air.

Fiberglass filters are generally sold at $1 per piece and have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. That usually means that these filters can only filter and remove less than 10 percent of the air pollutants found within your home.

Polyester and Pleated Filters

These filters are similar to fiberglass but are more efficient and superior in trapping dust and other air pollutants. In fact, these are capable of removing up to 45 percent of the home’s air pollutant.

Polyester and pleated filters are sold at $10 with a MERV rating that ranges from 8 to 13.

Washable Air Filters

With a MERV rating of 1 to 4, this type of filter, as most technicians would agree on, is the worst filter that you can have for your HVAC system. This sells for $20 each and requires major maintenance.

It doesn’t even end there. These filters easily collect bacteria and fungus which can circulate throughout the house if escaped. With that being said, do avoid using this type of filters.

High-Efficiency Filters

This type of filters can remove way more air pollutants than a polyester filter. It can remove up to 85 percent of the air pollutants from a building or your home. This filter is usually priced at $25 each. Its MERV rating also ranges from 14 to 16.

These filters are made from synthetic polyester fibers or pleated filter paper. Small particles of pollen, dust or other irritants can easily be trapped in these filters. These are normally being used in hospitals or any other clean-room environments as it can also remove bacteria from the air.

Since we have listed the types of filters that you can use for your HVAC system, be reminded that the best filter does not always depend on the MERV rating. Just because you see a high MERV rating does not automatically mean that it is the best one for you. Remember that if a filter causes restriction in the air flow, it causes your unit to malfunction. This malfunction could lead to more problems not just with your unit but also with you and your family’s health. So choose the filter that will not cause too much restriction in the air flow but at the same time still remove a good number of contaminants or air pollutants.

For homeowners who wish to keep the dust in control while making sure that their HVAC unit is functioning at its best, go for HVAC filters with a MERV rating between 9 and 12.

Remember to always change your filters on a regular basis. This simple step, along with other basic maintenance guides will definitely make a huge difference in your system’s efficiency and lifespan.

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