Confused About Which Air Filter to Buy? Here’s Help

Confused About Which Air Filter to Buy? Here’s Help

You may have heard the advice that you should change your HVAC system’s air filter every month as it gets clogged up with all the airborne particulates it’s capturing from your indoor air. You may even know that dirty and clogged air filters are the No. 1 cause of HVAC system failure. But when it comes to buying a replacement filter, do you know what your air filter options are?

There are two things to be aware of when it comes to HVAC air filters: the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating and the filter material. The MERV rating serves as a rating of what kinds of particles can be caught by the filter. Refer to your unit’s manual for recommended MERV values.

As for type, look for these options:

  • Fiberglass filters. These filters are extremely cheap, but don’t deliver much in the way of filtration. Their main focus is to keep large particles out of the moving parts of your HVAC system itself, rather than to improve indoor air quality. You may choose to use them if you have a central air cleaner for your IAQ needs and want to cut costs on your HVAC air filter, but given that filters are generally inexpensive, there are better ways to save money.
  • Pleated/polyester filters. With a particulate-trapping ability that’s markedly superior to fiberglass filters, these are one of the more common air filter options on the market.
  • Washable filters. While they may appeal to homeowners with a sense of conservation, washable air filters are generally poor pollutant controls, and can provide breeding grounds for mold, fungus, bacteria and mildew as moisture becomes trapped in the filter material.
  • High-efficiency air filters. These are typically made from pleated filter paper or fine meshes of synthetic fibers, and can remove up to 85 percent of the pollutants from your circulating air. However, before installing one, you should check to make sure that your HVAC fan motor is powerful enough to push air through the filter medium.

To learn more about air filter options for your Monmouth County home, contact us at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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