In the world of HVAC systems, air filters play an important role in keeping your home clean and healthy. But with so many different types of air filters available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your home. From pleated media filters to HEPA filters, understanding the different types of air filters and their MERV ratings can help you make an informed decision. Pleated media filters are a popular choice for many homeowners.
These filters have a MERV rating that ranges from 5 to 13, which means they can trap mold spores, pet dander, pollen, dust, dust mites and smoke. The pleats of these filters give them an advantage over creaseless options because they increase the filter surface area for better filtering. Media filters are very easy to maintain and ideal for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. HEPA filters are another option for those living with allergies or other respiratory problems.
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and these filters are designed to capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size. HEPA filters are more expensive than other types of air filters, but they are also more effective at trapping particles like dust mites, pet dander and pollen. When it comes to choosing the right filter for your HVAC system, it's important to consider the MERV rating as well as the thickness of the filter. Thicker air filters tend to last longer because they have more square feet to capture and retain air particles.
To put it into perspective, a 1-inch air filter may need to be changed every month, while a 4-inch air filter can last up to six months. If you want to buy a higher MERV filter than recommended by the manufacturer, you risk burning the blower and heat exchanger of your HVAC unit. In general, high-efficiency filters that are also cost-effective are best for homes, but other considerations should include whether there are pets in the house, if mold is a threat, and how often filters should be changed. As a universal rule, you should replace pleated air filters and oven filters in your home every 90 days. Washable filters are an eco-friendly way to save money and they can be used in conjunction with other practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of a plan to protect you and your family from airborne contaminants.
Choosing the right type of HVAC filter can make a real difference to the lifespan of your HVAC system. If you take great care of your HVAC unit but know that it will eventually fail, as do all HVAC units, consider investing in a home warranty to protect it.