It may seem like a daunting task to pick and choose the perfect air filter to replace the one that's currently old and worn out, but it actually isn't the case. Air filters are simple to work with, there's just a lot to choose from with a variety of prices. Some people tend to take the cheaper alternative and find the most basic of air filter replacements. It's natural to have a mindset this way, especially since proper maintenance of air filters require being replaced on a regular basis. This may indeed be cost-efficient, but they aren't for those especially with health and respiratory conditions.
Before anything else, we hope you as an HVAC homeowner are well aware of how to routinely maintain your system. If you want a long lasting and efficient HVAC system then you'll need to properly take care of its components and surroundings. Air filters are one part of a whole, so don't focus too much on this and forget the rest.
Now let's get back to it. How do you determine what kind of air filter is best for your system?
Mechanical Air Filters
Mechanical air filters are mostly found used on residential HVAC systems and are in fact the most common ones used today. They are throwaways - which means they weren't made to be kept for long without replacement. It uses synthetic fibers as traps for small debris, dust, etc that may have gone through your system's air circulation. It provides the first line of defense against airborne bacteria from entering our lungs.
There are different types of Mechanical Air Filters used and designed for different reasons, but before we get to that, it's important that we know how to measure an air filter's effectiveness. Thus the idea of MERV ratings.
MERV, or short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a standard rating guide that ranks an air filter's overall effectiveness. The higher the valued rating, the better its filtration efficiency - fewer dust and particles passing through.
Now that we're familiar with MERV ratings, let's discuss the different types of mechanical air filters.
The most cost-efficient type of filter out there. It is made thin with just a flat panel and was originally designed to protect your system, and not improve overall air quality. It comes at an affordable price of $1 or less each and has a MERV rating of around 1-4.
Pleated Air Filter
Mid-range air filter that removes up to half (45%) of the air particles flowing through your system's air circulation and into your home. It comes at a reasonable price of around $10 and has a MERV rating of around 10-13.
High-Efficiency Air Filter
Highly recommended for residential HVAC systems. Removes more than half (85%) of the air particles flowing through your system's air circulation into your home and has a MERV rating of round 14-16. Basically a pleated air filter but with more pleats per foot - the more pleats per foot the better it is at filtration.
True HEPA Filter
Also called high-efficiency particulate air filters, removes almost all (98%) of the air particles flowing through your system's air circulation and into your home. It has a MERV rating of around 17-20 but requires whole house filtration system, otherwise, your system may not have enough air pressure to use the filter.
When the time comes for you to replace your air filter, remember these different types. Would you go for the cheapest yet least efficient air filter? Or would you go with the recommended yet costly choice? The decision is yours. To get a better assessment, call Ductworks at (763) 225-2729 and have one of their technicians inspect your home and HVAC system.