When shopping around for a new air filter, it is important to balance cost with utility. Keeping your air cleaner is essential to your long-term health, you also do not want to waste money on something you are not going to use or that you do not even really need. So, to that end, we have assembled this guide to help you determine what to look for when finding a new air filter.
First: Consider Medical Needs
The type of air filter in your home directly correlates to your indoor air quality. For the average person you can get away with a cheap filter in the short-term (we’ll discuss the long-term later on). However, if you have any respiratory or other medical needs then you cannot afford to skimp out on your air filtration system. This is especially true if you have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory infections.
High-quality HEPA filters are best air filters for allergies and crucial for individuals suffering from lung conditions or other respiratory ailments.
Know the Size of Air Filter You Need
Thicker air filters are more efficient than thinner filters but modifying your home HVAC system to accommodate the thicker filter is something best left to a professional. The average person can get away with the standard one-inch thick filters. For most homes, there is not much reason to go beyond the standard sized filters. Only upgrade if a certified HVAC technician advises you to do so.
Know the Filter Types
There are many different kinds of air filters, each one having its own pros and cons.
- Fiberglass: The cheapest air filter available and definitely a reminder of the old saying “You get what you pay for.” These filters usually only cost about a dollar at most, but they filter out less than 10% of all known air pollutants. In general – avoid these.
- Pleated: These remove about 45% of known air pollutants and are still relatively cheap. More expensive than Fiberglass, these make an alright budget option. Should not be your first choice and really should only be selected if you are really tight on cash.
- High-Efficiency Air Filters: These offer the best balance between cost and efficiency. Removing about 85% of pollutants from your home, these can help create a healthy environment for you and your family. As before – medical issues may prompt you to go one step further, but for the average family, these will suffice.
- HEPA Filters: These are the best filters available, usually able to filter out 98% of known air pollutants. If you can afford these they are worth the price. While they are not strictly necessary unless you have health issues, these types of filters are still an excellent way to maintain a clean home.
Think Long Term
The filter you buy requires you to think long term. Remember that you need to replace filters on a regular basis to maintain maximum air conditioner efficiency. You want to have the right balance between cost and health. Most air filters – including HEPA – are worth the investment, but there is no shame in going a little lower if you do not have immediate health concerns. Consulting with an air conditioning installer can help you decide the best filters for your needs.
Remember that good indoor air quality is an essential component to good health. Many pollutants such as mold and pet dander circulate throughout your house, and even if you keep it obsessively clean it doesn’t take much for that indoor air quality to be ruined. Having a high-quality filter helps ensure the long-term health of yourself, your family, and any guests that may stay in your house.