Air filters are an essential part of the HVAC system. Not only do they keep dirt and other harmful contaminants away from HVAC components where they can cause damage, but they also remove those contaminants from the air you breathe.

But what kind of air filter should you use in your home? Which one will most effectively raise your indoor air quality?

Types of Air Filters

  • Fiberglass – Thin and flimsy, these filters are cheap but not particularly effective. They remove less than 10 percent of contaminants from the air.
  • Pleated – These have a similar construction to fiberglass filters, but they’re markedly better at their job, removing up to 45 percent of contaminants.
  • Electrostatic – Rather than simply creating a barrier to keep contaminants out, these actually have an electrostatic charge that attracts dust particles to it.
  • High efficiency – High efficiency air filters can remove around 85 percent of contaminants. However, they’re also very thick, restricting airflow. For this reason, they can’t be used in a regular HVAC system without damaging it. If your home needs a higher level of filtration, talk to your trusted technician to determine the best option for your HVAC system.

When looking for an air filter, check the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating. This reflects the percentage of contaminants the filter can remove and the size of the particles it can stop. Most HVAC systems should have a filter rated between 9 and 12.

Air Filter Maintenance

No matter what air filter you choose, it’s important to check it regularly. A dirty air filter restricts airflow, overworking the HVAC system as it struggles to heat or cool your home. This not only wastes energy, but it also shortens the system’s life span. A clogged filter will also fail to keep contaminants from circulating through your home’s air, lowering IAQ and exacerbating allergies and asthma. Air filters should be checked monthly and replaced at least every three months to maintain efficiency.

For more tips on finding the right air filter, contact the HVAC experts at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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