You might be wondering what the difference between all the air filters is. Well, we’ve got some answers for you here. There are a lot of products out on the market and we know that it’s difficult to
be sure of what you’re buying.
Buying the right filter means that you’re going to have a healthy home with good indoor air quality. That’s one of the most important parts of buying a filter. But with all the advertising going around about the different filters, are the claims true? What’s the best kind?
1″ Flat Filters
We’re all familiar with these guys. 1″ Flat filters are the cheap, common filter that you can find in most supermarkets. These filters are the lowest quality that you can find and, in most cases, only prevent large and medium-size pieces of dust from getting into your ducts. Other than that, they don’t do much else. If all you’re concerned about is the base level of filtration, these are good choices. However, if your health and home air quality is something you’re concerned about, it’s better to upgrade to a 4″ media filter. Not only do they work better, but you only have to change them ever 6-12 months. In fact, we can do that for you when we do your annual maintenance. Say goodbye to monthly filter changes!
This is a step up from the flat filters. These still fit into standard intake vents and provide a much better form of protection. These filters grab small and medium-sized particles. This is much better protection while still being in the low to the medium-cost range.
The pleats make the filter have more surface area for filtration, allowing for the proper amount of airflow. This is critically important! Low airflow makes the fans work harder and eventually wear out.
Reusable Filters (Not Recommended)
These are the filters you see being sold and marketed as a green solution. They’re usually made of plastic, covered with a metal screen, and come apart to allow for washing. In theory, it’s a great idea.
However, the theory doesn’t translate well to practice. Reusable filters are also marketed as a high-efficiency option, meaning that it captures small, medium, and large particles. However, this “high-efficiency” is made from a tight weaving of the fibers that make up the filter. That restricts the airflow and makes the fans work much harder. Because they’re meant to go into the intake vent by themselves without another fan to assist the process, they will harm the blowers in your HVAC system. Don’t use these!
High-Efficiency Particulate Accumulator (HEPA) Filters
These are the top of the line filters that you can purchase for your home. When a filtration system uses a HEPA filter, it’s usually a bragging point for that company, and for good reason. Instead of the reusable “high-efficiency” filters, the HEPA filter is actually a high-efficiency filter that won’t harm your system. If the filter is too thick for the system to pull air through, you’ll have to modify the system to use the HEPA filter, but regardless, it’s the best on the market.
It pulls over 99% of particles from the air that are above .3 microns large. Things like viruses, mold spores, and other small particles are captured by the HEPA filter. Plus, it lasts a long time on its own: about a year between filter changes. This is why they’re used in hospitals. While the HEPA filter costs more than the other filters, they don’t need to be replaced as much as the others do. Keep that in mind while you’re making your decision.
If You Need Help, Call Us
We’re here to help you with this, as well. We’re experts infiltration and we know how these systems work inside and out. In fact, we install 4″ media filters standard with every furnace we install. If you’re curious or need a hand with your project, call us. We’re always available and we can make your HVAC system work much more efficiently!