Fiberglass air filters are the most common type of air filter used in homes. They are disposable and extremely affordable, originally developed to protect HVAC systems rather than trap dirt and other contaminants. Indoor air quality is a crucial element for any homeowner, especially if members of the household have respiratory problems. The right HVAC filters can make the difference between congested air full of pollutants and clean air that is healthy and easy to breathe.
Understanding the different types of air filters for homes is the first step to getting the best indoor air quality you deserve. Each of these filters has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which vary depending on your purpose for your home. Some people need HVAC system filters that keep the air free of allergens and other contaminants, while others just need a basic filter to get the job done. 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.
It is advisable to talk to an HVAC professional before making any decisions about air filters. To help gather information and evaluate your options, you can 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. Fiberglass air filters are the most common type, but people living with allergies or other respiratory problems may benefit more from HEPA filters.
A contractor must adjust these filters to fit your specific HVAC system. UV filters use short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. When air passes through the HVAC unit, UV lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. UV filters are excellent for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health, including mold spores.
However, they can transform oxygen into ozone, which can be hazardous to health in low amounts and worsen existing respiratory diseases such as asthma in higher amounts. While UV filters are great at killing bacteria and viruses, they are not as efficient when it comes to detecting contaminants such as dust. This is why they are often part of a larger filtration mechanism, which includes HEPA air filters. UV light is invisible to the human eye and bulbs usually need to be replaced every year, depending on the make and model of the HVAC system.
Electrostatic filters create static that acts as a magnet for dust and other airborne particles using small cotton and paper fibers. The magnetism is strong enough to prevent these particles from spreading throughout the house, making them one of the best options for those who need a filter that can fight allergens. An additional advantage for electrostatic filters is that they are available as disposable and reusable when it's time to change them. Washable filters are an eco-friendly way to save money in the long run.
The initial price of this type of air filter for HVAC systems is high, but it should be considered as an investment that will last for many years since you can simply wash and reuse it over and over again instead of buying a new one every few months. Washable filters must be well maintained to ensure they work as they should; they come with maintenance instructions that must be followed and it is very important to make sure that the filter is completely dry before replacing it or else mold and mildew can form on it and blow into the air you breathe. While these filters have a low MERV rating, they are a great long-term investment for someone who doesn't have strong preferences about HVAC filter types and doesn't need special filters. Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a high MERV filter but without the negative consequences of airflow or static pressure due to their larger surface area.
Media filters are very easy to maintain and great for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants since filtered dirt seals into them preventing it from being expelled back into your home. They also need to be changed as often as once or twice a year and are a great long-term investment for someone who doesn't have strong preferences about HVAC filter types and doesn't need special filters.