Do Air Filter Types Really Matter? A Comprehensive Guide

The short answer is: yes, they do matter. Different types of air filters can make a real difference to the life of your HVAC system and the air quality inside your home. It is important to talk to an HVAC professional before making any decisions about air filters, and to compare the basic pros and cons of each filter type. Let's take a look at each type of filter and its characteristics to narrow down the types that may be suitable for your home. In its most basic function, an air filter removes impurities such as dust, pet dander or even bacteria from the air that flows through the system.

Not only does this improve the air quality inside your home, it also protects your HVAC system from damage. When it comes to the health and comfort of your family, friends, and other guests, it's a good idea to get the most efficient air filter you can afford. Filters not only allow people to breathe easier, they can also reduce odors and make your home a more pleasant place to live. And if you really want to purify the air in your home, consider adding an air purifier. Heating and cooling will likely make up a big part of your utility bill. But one small thing is the air filter that keeps the entire central air system working.

A dirty filter can restrict airflow, preventing the system from working as it is supposed to work and eventually causing equipment breakdown. If you have little air flow, check the air filter, a clogged filter is one of the most common reasons. So you should always go for the types of air filters with the highest rating, right? In reality, a high-efficiency air filter can make your HVAC system less efficient. As the filter traps more fine particles, it blocks airflow through the heat exchanger. Your system works harder to heat or cool the air.

Your energy bills increase, you need to change the filter more often, and your boiler could be damaged by overheating. Compared to cheaper basic filters available, medium-efficiency MERV filters like the Nordic Pure MERV 12 can greatly reduce airborne dust, mold spores, pollen and even smoke, and doing so can help ease respiratory ailments according to an NIH review. We think manufacturers' concerns are a little cautious, partly because a recent innovation in air filters allows for high MERV ratings (11 to 1) with low pressure drop. These filters are not known to improve air quality, as they cannot put much effort and can only catch some dust and allergens. Typically, high-efficiency filters that are also cost-effective are best for homes, but other considerations should include whether there are pets in the home, if mold is a threat, and how often filters should be changed. For example, hospitals use filters with a rating of 16, but that is not necessary for your home environment, and using a filter with such a high rating will increase your energy costs. In addition, pleated filters do not have to be changed as often; only one every 3 months compared to the monthly frequency of non-pleated filters. In addition, an often-cited comprehensive independent test of the effects of MERV filters 8 through 13 on HVAC airflow and energy consumption (an indicator of how hard the equipment is working) concluded that even “if no adaptations are made for the higher pressure drop of high MERV filters, penalties for airflow and energy is not likely to be serious at least not until the filter is laden with dirt”.Electrostatic filters often have MERV values of 10 or more so they are very effective at decontaminating the air inside a home.

Media filters are very easy to maintain and great for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. When buying air filters online look for places that allow you to customize your quantity to get exactly what you need. While you should review the instructions for your HVAC system and your specific filter for maintenance guidelines you should usually change your filters at least every season if not once a month. However these filters have some drawbacks first they usually cost significantly more than basic fiberglass filters. Even the slightest remaining moisture can cause mold and mildew to form on the filter and blow it into the air you breathe.