All furnaces have an air filter that needs to be changed on a regular basis to help keep your indoor air quality at a good level. Whenever you head to the store to get a new filter, it will become obvious that you have many options. By understanding the different types of filters on the market, you can best determine which one is going to meet the needs of your home.
One type of filter that receives a lot of buzz is the HEPA filter. Also known as a high-efficiency particulate air filter, this furnace filter removes 99.97% of all airborne pollutants and allergens that are .3 microns or bigger. This includes things like dust, mold spores, tobacco, and bacteria. HEPA filters have a MERV rating of 16 and provide the highest protection for residential HVAC systems.
However, it is essential to note that HEPA filters are not a catch-all for every pollutant. Pollutants that are smaller than 0.3 microns will still remain in your system. These include gases, odors, and fumes. Additionally, due to their high filtering capability, HEPA filters tend to decrease the airflow in your ventilation system.
A great cost-effective option is the electrostatic furnace filter. This type of filter is comprised of small paper and cotton fibers that are statically charged. They act like a magnet that attracts airborne particles like dust. This is an excellent filter to help combat certain allergens that can decrease your indoor air quality. Additionally, electrostatic filters are available in washable versions. This will allow you to continue to use the same filter over and over again without having to buy another one.
Due to the design of the electrostatic filter, it’s best to handle smaller pollutants. It tends to struggle with filtering out large air pollutants like dust and mold spores. This can make it a bad choice for households that have members with respiratory illnesses.
A common type of HVAC filter that you’ll run across is the fiberglass filter. This is made up of strands of fiberglass that are spun together. This cost-effective HVAC filter is a disposable filter that protects the internal components of your furnace from unwanted debris like lint and dust. As long as you replace them on a regular basis, fiberglass filters will keep your furnace clean without impacting the airflow throughout your ventilation system.
These fiberglass filters tend to have a very small surface area that makes them ineffective at filtering many smaller pollutants. This makes them an adequate choice for households where members have respiratory illnesses like asthma.
Pleated filters can be made out of polyester or cotton. Their claim to fame is the way that they’re constructed in a pleated fashion that allows more surface area for higher filtration. Pleated filters are effective at filtering out dust and other airborne pollutants while providing less resistance to airflow in your ventilation system. Pleated filters are available in both disposable and washable formats depending on your individual preferences.
While pleated filters aren’t able to catch as many airborne pollutants as HEPA filters, they’re typically the next best option. However, pleated filters can be more expensive than lower-grade filters like fiberglass.
One of the biggest struggles with furnace filters is that the more filtering capability a filter tends to have, the lower your airflow is. That is until media filters hit the market. These filters provide high-level filtration without any negative consequences on the airflow inside of your system. Media filters have a greater surface area that allows them to filter out many airborne particles like bacteria. Unlike other filters, when the debris passes into your media filter, it is sealed in and cannot be expelled back out.
Media filters are going to cost a little bit more than your typical fiberglass filter. While they do have the benefit of only needing to be changed once or twice a year, most media filters must be installed by a professional. They’re also ineffective when it comes to filtering unwanted odors in your home.
Professional Furnace Services
Coffman & Company provides professional furnace services for the entire Wheat Ridge, CO, area. We’re also here for all of your cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality needs. Call us today to get the professional maintenance, repair and installation assistance that you need.