Choosing an air filter and ensuring that it’s the right one that fits your specific needs is actually a very important and timely process. If you don’t know what to look for or what information to consider, you could very well end up with a filter that doesn’t do an effective job and doesn’t achieve what you’re looking for. Most people think of pollution as an outdoor problem but beyond cigarette smoke, cleaning supplies, pets, and fibers in the air are all sources of indoor air pollution.
Therefore, before going out to purchase any air filters or products, you first need to do your research. We know it’s somewhat tedious to scroll through information that seems to not make sense, which is why we’ve compiled a handy list of the pros and cons of different types of air filters. This simple guide should help save you time and get you the air filter that you want without dealing with the unnecessary extra hassle.
The thing about air filters is that, depending on your needs and what you’re aiming to get out of the use of your system, you’re going to find different models have different efficiency rates. This is completely understandable because not every filter is designed with the same ability to remove certain pollutants and not even furnace and air conditioning system has a blower motor strong enough for dense, thick filters like those that may be used in a sterile environment. However, even if you know what you’re looking for, it’s still a generally good idea to have an overview of both the good aspects and the bad aspects of certain air filters.
Disposable Fiberglass Filters:
Pros: These filters are usually rather inexpensive, which means that you won’t be needing to spend a fortune on setting up a unit. They’re well suited for people who don’t suffer from allergies or breathing issues, as they’re designed to remove large particles from the air.
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Cons: They typically have a low MERV rating of only 2 – 3, and they’re only designed to specifically remove big particles from the atmosphere. This means that there’s often a lot of pollution and debris left in the air since these filters don’t do a particularly good job of cleaning the atmosphere. While good for those who aren’t sensitive to dust and dirt, fiberglass filters are not suitable if you’re searching to achieve the cleanest atmosphere possible.
Disposable Pleated Filters:
Pros: Taking it up a notch, these air filters come with higher MERV efficiency ratings, so they’re much more efficient in removing smaller debris particles from the air. Along with doing a better job of cleaning the air, they’re still pretty inexpensive, so you still won’t be spending too much, and there are more models that have been designed to be environmentally-friendly. Disposable pleated filters are a great choice for those who aren’t particularly sensitive to atmospheric pollutants but still want to maintain a clean environment.
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Cons: There aren’t all that many negatives to pleated filters, apart from the fact that they have to be changed out more often. The filters are prone to having dirt build upon them, so you need first make sure to get the right furnace filter size and second, replace them at regular intervals to ensure that your unit is working as well as possible. These filters also restrict the airflow to your HVAC system, so make sure you select the correct MERV efficiency rating or your system could be damaged.
Disposable Electrostatic Filters:
Pros: These once again have a higher MERV rating, so they’re more efficient in removing the smaller particles from the atmosphere of your building. They catch a lot of small particles in the air, which makes them well-suited for households that include children or pets. They’re also designed to catch smoke particles, so they’re recommended for those who smoke indoors.
Cons: The main issue with these filters is that, unlike the previous two, they can be more costly to replace. If you end up experiencing the need to repair or replace them, you’re going to be spending quite a bit. Likewise, some units will need custom sized filters, and these will be a lot more expensive.
Permanent Electrostatic Filters:
Pros: These are very similar to disposable electrostatic filters, and so the positive aspects are almost identical. They’re great at efficiently removing smaller particles from the atmosphere, and they’re good for households with pets, children, or those with dust allergies. The permanent ones, however, are also removable and are machine washable, which prolongs their lifespan and helps you reduce the costs spent on replacements. Typically, these filters can last up to 8 years, so they’re very durable.
Cons: They actually have a slightly lower MERV rating than their disposable counterparts because they’re designed to last longer and, in turn, they need to be more sturdy and durable. While they’re good at removing smaller particles from the environment, they don’t catch all of the atmospheric pollutants, which is something to keep in mind.
High-Efficiency Pleated Filters:
Pros: These filters are top of the line, and there’s no wonder why so many people swear by using them throughout their buildings. They’re able to catch minuscule air-borne particles and remove them from the atmosphere which maximizes the cleanliness of the environment. As they usually have a very high MERV rating of at least 13, they’re great filters to be used to prevent the spread of illnesses, and they’re recommended to those with health problems such as respiratory issues.
Cons: Because they’re premium filters, they’re premium priced, so they’re rather expensive. As well as not being entirely affordable, the filters are very thick because they’re designed to remove so many pollutants from the atmosphere and so they can only be installed in certain homes. Due to the high-quality of the filters, it’s obvious that replacements and repairs will also add to the costs of maintaining them, which is why they’re not recommended for households without the health needs of optimal air cleanliness.
Generally, when you’re considering what type of air filter to buy, you need to put into perspective what exactly you want to get out of your unit. Are you in need of an air filter that’ll only remove pet dander and pollen, or do you need something that’ll cleanse the air entirely?
It’s good to know what type of household you’re catering to and what type of needs you have, as that’ll allow you to find the perfect filter for you. Finding the right filter will help you save energy costs and live more sustainably, but it’s vital to do your research first. Most important, make sure you check your systems HVAC recommendations as the wrong filter may work for a short time but could end up leading to costly repairs. Hopefully, this short guide will give you a better insight into the different type of filters that you may come across in your search.