The subject of air filters for your furnace can be a confusing topic. You will discover they are sorted by different ratings, have diverse components, and come in distinct sizes. How is an average homeowner supposed to know which air filter is right for their HVAC unit? Which one is right for the dwelling as well as the furnace? With the appearance of COVID-19, it seems like a good time to review the options. It is important, possibly now more than ever, to keep everything in your home clean and sanitized. Give your home a breath of fresh air by changing your air.
How Do Filters Differ
Filters are produced by a diverse list of suppliers. They are also made with a varied range of materials which affects their cost, overall performance, and rating. Furnace filters are rated on the MERV scale (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). This scores a filter by its efficiency in removing particles in the air from 0.3 – 10.0 μm in size. Air filters that filter out the largest quantity of a certain type of particle have a higher rating.
Basic Types of Filters
- Fiberglass filters: These are a very affordable option. They typically have a MERV rating of 1 -4. Meaning, this type of material only filters out larger air particles. So, if expense is the only factor you happen to be thinking of, they are a good alternative. Nonetheless, you have to remember that since they do not eliminate much besides dust, they are not recommended for homes with people with allergies. When you have no one in the household with allergies or immune concerns, these may be just an appropriate option for you.
- Electrostatic filters: If you are looking for a filter you don’t need to replace, this is it. Rather than replacing this type of filter, you simply clean it. Typically, this is done by spraying it thoroughly with a hose. They work by making the air particles passing through multiple layers of material have a positive charge. This causes the particles to stick to the filter before they have a chance to be spread through your home. They’re 97% successful in removing particles from the air. You won’t find a MERV rating for an electrostatic filter, however. This is because they’re not a dry media filter.
- HEPA filters: HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and was originally developed during World War II to safeguard researchers whilst working on the atomic bomb. They needed something that would filter out radioactive particles from the air. That might give you a good idea of just how much these filters can eliminate from the air! The ability to get rid of almost 100% of particulates that are 0.3 μm in size makes a HEPA the most effective filter type on the market. That particular size is known as the MPPS or Most Penetrating Particle Size. It has been found that particles both larger and smaller are much easier to capture with a filter. So, if a filter can grab almost all of the particles that are this size, it is very efficient. Keeping this in mind, the capability to remove this much out of the air also indicates they may considerably hamper air flow if your system is not designed to handle that type of filter. You can always give us a call and we can help you determine what type of filter is best for you.
- Pleated filters: Normally in the range of 5-12 around the MERV scale, pleated filters end up right in the middle of the scale and make up pretty much the rest of the air filters on the market. A pleated filter is much more effective at removing air particulates than a non-pleated filter no matter the material. Their life span can be slightly longer than the significantly lower priced option also. They are a great mid-range option that are usually appropriate for just about any system.
When you need a new air filter, the options can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there are professionals like us who can help you navigate through all the alternatives. Changing out your air filter is one of the easiest things you can do as a homeowner to help keep your HVAC system running efficiently. It also helps keep your family healthy and helps reduce the symptoms of allergies and other respiratory issues when you select the right filter. Get in touch with us anytime and we can answer any questions you have!