What is the Best Type of Air Filter for Your Home?

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certified air filters are the best for removing airborne allergens and pollutants, including mold spores and dust particles as small as 0.3 microns. To measure filter efficiency, experts use the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating system. MERV is a graph that classifies filters based on their ability to capture particles, with a rating ranging from 1 to 16, with 16 being the highest. MERV ratings for different filter types vary by quality and manufacturer, and are always mentioned on the package.

Despite their popularity, these filters do not contribute much to indoor air quality, only filtering about 20% of particles that are around 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size, such as dust, carpet fibers and pollen. Pleated filters consist of a medium fabric made of polyester or cotton, organized in pleats to increase the surface of the filter. Therefore, filters that have more pleats are more effective than those with fewer pleats. These filters are slightly more expensive than fiberglass filters but they are also more effective against pollutants, even capturing smaller air pollutants such as pollen, pet dander and mold spores.

Pleated filters are available in both reusable and disposable versions. Due to their high efficiency, pleated filters are popular with people who have allergies to air conditioning or other respiratory problems. However, these filters are more expensive than fiberglass filters and pleated filters. UV light filters remove bacteria and viruses from the air but do little against contaminants such as dust, so they are generally part of a more advanced filtration mechanism such as HEPA filters. One of the best air filters for household furnaces is the MERV 8 HVAC pleated AC furnace filter that will help you breathe healthy indoors. A permanent furnace filter solves one of the biggest problems with HVAC maintenance by remembering to buy new filters.

Using wet filters can lead to the accumulation of mold and bacteria which will reduce indoor air quality. In addition, an often-cited comprehensive independent test of the effects of MERV filters 8 through 13 on HVAC airflow and energy consumption 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”.We research the best oven filters on the market, evaluating filter type, MERV rating and overall value. While many 1-inch filters need to be replaced every 90 days or so, a 4-inch oven filter such as the Honeywell Home pleated air filter lasts up to a year. An oven filter improves the air quality inside your home by capturing particles such as dust, dirt and dander that would otherwise clog the oven or settle in ducts. Also known as annual oven filters, long-life oven filters have more surface area to extend the time between filter replacements. Both are evidence that smoky air is finding a way around the clogged filter rather than through it, and that it's time to install a new one. Sometimes you need to spend a little more to get the best air filter for your home air conditioner, especially if you have more than one furry pet.

The air is charged with particles sent through the filter only once and results are measured. The Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen filter has a MERV rating of 13, placing it in a class of filters designed to capture particles as small as 0.30 to 1 micron. As the name suggests, the Filtrete Basic air filter for dust and lint is best suited for reducing household dust, lint and dust mite residues. These are installed in wall-mounted air return vents (more common in the south) or on the air handler (more common in mid-Atlantic and northern states). But nowadays there is much controversy about air filters partly because there are so many filtration options.