Choosing the Right Air Filter for Your Home

The air filters in your home are an important part of any air system, keeping incoming airflow clean. The air inside your home is not automatically cleaned, the system brings in any air, dirty or not. It’s the air filters in a system that makes sure that the air goes through clean. They are made of a tight mesh weaving made of different materials like fiberglass, cardboard, paper, and cloth. The weaving let’s air pass through but traps any airborne irritants that could affect the air quality in your home. Picking the right air filter for a home is an important part of keeping the air quality inside up.

MERV Rating

The first thing to note is the MERV rating of a filter which determines how effective it will be in trapping incoming particles. The higher the MERV rating, the tighter the mesh weaving is, and the cleaner the air going through will be. However, higher rated air filters are usually supposed to be for more powerful air systems with industrial grading. The average home HVAC system usually cannot work effectively if the filter’s mesh weaving too highly rated leading to an issue pushing airflow through. These problems can cause serious issues for the systems an air filter is in over time.

Air filters with a high MERV rating may cause the same problems that a dirty filter causes. In both cases, the airflow through a system has difficulty going through. This forces the system to use extra energy to try and push the air through, raising energy billing and straining the system over time. This strain could lead to costly damages if not handled correctly, especially for furnace air systems. When the heated airflow leaving a furnace is blocked, then the rising temperatures can lead to serious damages. Be sure to check your current air system’s manuals to be sure of what MERV rating is best suited for the filters you place into them.

Air Filter Sizes

The air filter size you buy is important considering that an air filter needs to fit into a system to be effective. Every air filter is measured by height, length, and thickness, in several dozen sizes to fit any air system. You can easily figure out what filter your air system needs by pulling out the old filter already inside and reading the numbers on the frame. You can also read the owner’s manual for the number if you cannot read the number off of the old filters.

Air Filter Types

There are multiple filter types that each come with their different qualities and price ranges. It helps to find special offers on filters to make sure you can afford the replacement filters you’ll need over time. The types of air filters available  include:

  • Disposable Fibreglass Filters: The cheapest kinds of filters, they come in most sizes and their quality matches their pricing. Low cost for low MERV rating, they are also less durable than other filters. They require more consistent replacing over time, more so than other filter types.
  • Electrostatic Filters: A from of disposable and washable filters that charge as incoming airflow passes through. They capture smaller particles more easily but they are ill-suited for different air systems. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual before installation.
  • Washable Filters: Filters built with a solid frame, they can be washed and reused over time. But they require more frequent maintenance and will eventually need replacing as they begin to degrade over time.
  • Pleated Filters: A disposable form of air filter made of paper and polyester, they are the most common kind of air filter. They provide a standard level of protection with balanced prices, but they do require regular replacement.

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