Most people don’t know the truth about home air filters and their utility. They don’t have proper maintenance awareness either. So let me unravel some of the crucial highlights of air filters. Let’s begin!
A Quick Answer
As a homeowner, one must have a clear idea about the utility and maintenance process of the filtration system. There are many myths about air filters, and it is time to debunk them.
For example, people believe a higher MERV rating is best for improving air quality. Some believe that an air filter can prevent viruses like COVID-19.
Well, these are far from being true. You might get shocked to hear similar taken-for-granted truths to be false. So let me explain things you should know about an air filter.
5 Important Facts to Know About an Air Filter
I have come up with 5 important facts for you to know. You might get surprised to hear some of them. So, let’s brace for it.
1. Filters are Mainly For HVAC System Protection
Air filters, as we all know, are a significant part of the HVAC system. People believe that their primary objective is to clean the polluted air.
But the reality is the main purpose of this device is to protect the HVAC unit and smoothly circulate the airflow:
- You get better indoor air quality as a byproduct of this air circulation.
- No dust and debris can accumulate inside your heating and cooling system.
- Other HVAC equipment can work smoothly.
2. MERV Rating Can be Misleading
MERV, also known as Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a system for calculating the effectiveness of an air filter. However, MERV can be misleading to a certain extent. Why, you may ask? Here are the reasons:
- High MERV filters can be burdensome for home HVAC systems.
- For residential areas, a home air filter of 8 to 13 MERV is enough to go with.
- MERV scale beyond 13 is power-consuming, expensive, and only suitable in the hospital and industrial setting.
- Lower MERV-rated filters are not always bad.
So, it is better not to go blindly for the high MERV filters. Rather, you need to choose wisely.
3. Air Filter Size Matters For Air Quality
“Size doesn’t matter, chopping wood“- remember these words from Jerry? Well, in the case of an HVAC air filter, size obviously matters and sometimes matters a lot. Let me explain this to you.
- Smaller filters have certain limitations and can hardly cover a good chunk of space.
- The biggest air filter is always better for air quality in larger spaces.
- The filter size should be congruous with the HVAC system slot.
The filter size is written on the filter’s top frame. You can also measure the dimension with tape as well. Getting a filter that fits the air handler is essential.
4. Pleated Filters Vs Washable Air Filters
It is a common phenomenon that washable filters are a comfy option because you can use them for a longer period. They provide long-lasting service to your air handler, unlike disposable filters.
But pleated air filters are way better than washable ones. Let me tell you why.
- A washable air filter is prone to mold spores because they remain damp after every wash.
- Pet dander and pollens can pass through the damp filter.
- It has a low MERV rating of 1-4, which is pretty low for filtering dirty air.
So, what to do then? I suggest pleated air filters for better particle filtration.
5. Regular Air Filter Change is Important
Many of us are too busy to change HVAC filters, and some of us may be unwilling to change. But you must remember air filter changing is of paramount importance.
But why, you may ask? Let me tell you what will happen if you don’t change your HVAC filter:
- Your HVAC system will be clogged down.
- There will be accumulated dust and debris and limited air flow.
- The indoor air quality will be less clean than in previous times.
- The longevity of the HVAC system will be less than usual.
- You have to spend more money on the AC unit.
So if you want a better HVAC system, you had better make a schedule change of your HVAC filter.
Now you might know four types of air filters are on the market. You can choose the best one as per your requirements.
What are the Types of Air Filters
There are mainly four types of air filters you can buy. Here I am going to discuss all of them one by one.
1. Spun Fiberglass Filters
Spun fiberglass is the most affordable filter to purchase. Let me tell you more about it:
- Spun fiberglass has a MERV rating of 1 to 4.
- They are not high-efficiency filters.
- They are cheap but can remove only large particles.
- The air flow from these HVAC air filters is not satisfactory.
Those who live away from city pollution and people with no asthma and allergy problem can go for these filters.
2. Electrostatic Filters
Electrostatic is another type of filter that is widely used. Let’s know you about it:
- Electrostatic filters work following the simple physical law of charge and attraction.
- The filter media draws airborne pollutants hovering in the air.
- They are reusable filters, making them perfect for using a couple of years.
- Their MERV rating varies from 2 to 20.
These filters have an average price and can be a good option for a home’s indoor air quality.
3. Disposable Pleated Filters
Well, people often ask me what the best HVAC air filters are. And most of the time, I reply to them with either pleated or HEPA filters. Let me tell you why.
- Disposable pleated filters are good at capturing bacterial agents and even viruses.
- They have a pretty good MERV rating that varies from 10 to 13.
- They offer the most satisfactory air cleaning because they have high-efficiency filters.
However, their longevity is not more than 6 to 12 months. So, you need to change these filters regularly.
4. Polyester Filters
Polyester air filters have a long reputation for serving industrial areas. Let me point out their features.
- Polyester filters have a MERV rating of 5 to 8.
- They are suitable for filtering chemical elements from the air.
- They are also good for home use.
What are the Benefits of Changing Air Filters?
If you don’t see any benefit in filters, then it would be a waste of money, right? So, let me tell you a few advantages of HVAC air filters now.
- You will get considerable fresh and dust-free air.
- You can save some energy costs.
- Air conditioning systems will have a longer lifespan.
- You don’t have to spend money on repairs.
I think you now know the benefits. So don’t hold yourself from getting an air filter.
Do home air filters really make a difference?
Yes, home air filters can significantly make difference in indoor air quality.
What type of air filter is best for the home?
HEPA filters are considered to be the best for air pollution removal in the home.
Are expensive air filters worth it?
An expensive air filter is worth it if you can bear the cost.
Should you have an air filter in your house?
Yes, you should. Otherwise, your HVAC system may break down, and dust will accumulate.
An air filter is an essential part of HVAC systems. You must maintain it properly if you want fresh air to flow through your room. And people having respiratory problems should be more careful in changing air filters regularly.
However, have you found anything amusing about this article? Do you now believe the myths about air filters? Let me know what you think in the comment box.
Danny is a passionate writer who loves to share his knowledge about air purifiers. He’s been writing for 10 years, and he’ll share all that experience with Very Well Home viewers to help you make the best decision when it’s time to buy an appliance!