What Types of Filters to Use
It is never too late to take charge of the air in your home. Air filters come in a wide variety of material and styles. Washable filters, whole house filters, pleated filters, electronic filters and many more. I asked myself, do we have to become filter experts in order to know what type of filter to use in our HVAC systems to help our indoor air? In talking with several of our HVAC members, I learned a few basic facts from the experts. Selecting the proper air filter is the key to make sure you have good air that circulates through your home and not all filters are created equal. The least expensive air filter is made from spun fiberglass and is the most commonly used filter today. A step up from the spun fiberglass filter is the flat paper matte mounted filter . This type of filter is also relatively inexpensive. The pleated paper mounted filter is next on the list. The pleats increase the surface area that is exposed to the return air. With the larger filter area, more air filtering takes place. Then there are the electrostatic filters, which are considered life-time filters. When the air moves over the filter medium, the dirt, allergens, dust and pollen is electronically charged and captured into the filter. These filters are very expensive and you must clean them monthly to work properly. Then there is the air filter system that is connected to your existing air conditioning system and the dust, allergens, pollens, etc are electronically zapped, like the outdoor bug zappers. This type of system is well in excess of
$1,000. There is maintenance involved.
Due to allergies that we are experiencing, my wife insists that I purchase very expensive air conditioning filters. I am telling her that we do not need to, less expensive filters will work just fine. What is the best product to use?
Our member experts say do not use the most inexpensive spun fiberglass type of filter. The pleated air filters work great that are in the range of $5.00 or even less. There is no need to opt for the $15 - $20 range pleated air filters. The more expensive filters provide more resistance than is necessary to catch the bad air and sometimes issues can arise in your unit. Pleated filters have a good efficiency rating and it is important to look at the MERV rating because that will indicate how efficient a filter is on a scale of 100 percent. A good pleated filter will work with a rating of 5-10 on the MERV scale. MERV ratings of 8 or higher are good for pet owners and for families that have allergies. MERV rating of 11 or higher are for families that possibly have higher elvels of allergies and issues with poor indoor air quality. Keep in mind that name brand filters will absolutely cost more and generic brands will be less and in both cases the MERV rating will be the same. It is important to change filters monthly during high use periods, even though manufacture instructions indicate that you can change them every three months. We have conditions in Arizona that create dust and filters can clog quickly. HEPA filters remove a high percentage of dust and allergens, however because they block even the tiniest of particles, they can become quickly clogged and without constant changing, you can have issues. Beware of filters that say “HEPA-like”. If you have air issues and if you have certain products that you are attempting to filter from your home, let’s give a call to one of our HVAC members and get you the answer to your concerns. It is important to maintain a clean filter then energy consumption will be less and your system will operate more efficiently.