It is always stressed that air filters should be changed on a regular basis to avoid restricted airflow. While a large portion of homeowners know this, some of them may not be aware of the type of air filter that they need. This is particularly true for first-time homebuyers who have never needed to purchase a filter previously. Here is some advice that will help get you started to ensure that you are able to sift through all the available options easily and choose the right one for your unit:
1. Determine What Size You Need.
HVAC air filters come in a variety of sizes. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says that the right size is crucial, as the wrong size can create similar problems to that of a filthy air filter. The National Air Filtration Association says that most homes have HVAC units that require a filter of one-inch thickness.
2. Get the Right Type.
Just as air filters come in different sizes, they also come in different maintenance requirements and performance levels. As a general rule, any filter will do its job if kept clean. However, some may last longer. Here is a basic breakdown of the four main types of home HVAC filters:
- Disposable Fiberglass – This is the cheapest type of filter only costing a dollar or two. Despite being inexpensive, these filters do have the capabilities of catching large dirt, dust and lint particles.
- Disposable Pleated – This is probably the most popular filter and costs four to five dollars. They can sometimes remove spores, mites and other small particles, but do tend to require changing more frequently.
- Disposable Electrostatic – These filters contain electric paper or cotton fibers that are self-charged and can not only capture small particles, but can also attract them. These tend to cost around $10 per filter.
- Permanent Electrostatic – This type of filter is just like the disposable one, except it isn't nearly as effective. These filters cost around $15 to $20 per filter and can be used for up to eight years, thanks to the fact that they're machine-washable.
3. Don't Forget Efficiency.
Every type of quality HVAC air filter will have a MERV rating, which is known as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number helps you understand how much the filter can trap. Usually, residential HVAC filters will be rated between one and thirteen. It is recommended that you purchase a filter with at least a MERV rating of six.
If you need help selecting the right HVAC air filter, consider reaching out to a professional air conditioning specialist for assistance, such as Borter Heating & Air Conditioning Co.