If you have an HVAC unit, air cleaner or furnace, the type of air filter you use matters more than you might think. There’s a lot to consider when choosing an air filter, from the quality of the air you want in your home to the type of household you have, such as one with lots of people or a home with pets.
When it comes to improving the quality of the air you breathe indoors, your air filter should be your top priority throughout the year. Choosing the right filter can significantly impact your health and your comfort, so it’s important to choose correctly.
There are three main types of air filters to consider for your property – in this guide, we’ll take you through the benefits and properties of each one to help you choose the right air filter for your needs.
The most basic type is a fiberglass filter, available in a 16x25x1 air filter, which comprises layered sheets of fiberglass laid over each other which are then reinforced with a metal grating. This prevents the filter from collapsing in the furnace.
These types of filters are usually the cheapest you can buy, and they are ideal for environments where you just want to prevent dust rather than cleaning the air itself. Fiberglass filters usually have the lowest MERV rating and are the most affordable.
However, because they are less efficient, you will need to replace these filters at least once a month to prevent the filter from becoming clogged with dirt and debris particles.
Pleated Air Filters
Pleated air filters usually have a higher MERV rating and are made from a pleated or polyester filter which delivers a significant improvement on the fiberglass filters capabilities.
They have a similar construction, but they provide a finer filter that can trap smaller particles, so they’re great for keeping the air clean from dust and allergens, while still being affordable and easy to install.
You can also find pleated air filters with a higher MERV rating than with fiberglass filters.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air and these are the best quality air filters you can buy in the world of air filtration.
The term is defined by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a true filter of this type has to remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles measuring at least 0.3 microns in size in order to be classified as a HEPA filter. While HEPA is an industry term, labels such as HEPA type or HEPA-like are not, so be watchful of this when you’re choosing the filter for your furnace.
Air filters with this title will not be as effective as a true HEPA filter, so you can’t guarantee that the air quality will be as clean.
It’s also important to note that the HEPA standard doesn’t apply to particles smaller than 0.3 microns, even though many filters of this type can remove smaller particles.