An air filter is a necessity in any home that uses central heating and air. Not only does it help to keep allergens out of the air, but it also helps to protect your air conditioner from damage. Even the most basic of air filters can do this job, but many people are out for the best filtration they can get.
We want to help homeowners stay healthy and comfortable. But there are so many misconceptions about home air filters that some people may actually inadvertently risk their own comfort and health by choosing a filter that’s not fit for the job. We are here to help. Follow our expert tips to select the right air filter for cleaner air and a healthier system.
Finding the Right Fit
Finding the right fit for a new air filter is as easy as pulling out the old one. You just want to make sure the new one is of a similar standard size. This should not be too difficult, but if you do run into trouble, call a technician. Certain air conditioners are only compatible with certain types or models of filter, so you might need to check your manual.
Top Options for Home Filters
First, we should discuss the difference between reusable filters and disposable filters. Reusable filters cost more, but last much longer. However, it’s important you keep up with cleaning as per manufacturer’s instructions. And make sure it is completely dry before returning it to the register, in order to prevent mold and mildew. Disposable filters must be replaced every 1-3 months.
There are two common options for disposable filters: fiberglass (or other synthetic fibers) and pleated filters. Fiberglass filters are typically the most basic of filters. They have standard efficiency ratings—usually with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of about 1-4. A pleated filter, on the other hand, might have a MERV of 5-8, meaning it filters out more of the particles that make you sick or aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Why a Pleated Filter Might Not Work for You
Pleated filters are more expensive upfront, but they are rated highly for filtration, catching more of the particles in the air that tend to make us sick. For homeowners with small children, allergies of their own, or immune system disorders in the household, this might seem like the obvious choice.
However, it’s possible for a filter to be too effective. A pleated filter has a raised, pleated surface in order to create a larger surface area for particulate to cling to. The problem is that, while this type of filter can block airborne contaminants, it can also block some level of airflow. This can interfere with air conditioning performance, costing you more to run your air conditioner and failing to keep your comfortable or filter the air.
Improving Indoor Air Quality the Right Way
If your air filter is the wrong fit for your home, your air conditioner cannot do its job, which means it won’t be cleaning the air the way it’s supposed to either. Check your air conditioner’s manual or call a technician to make sure a stronger filter is a good fit for your HVAC system.
If not, there are other ways to clean the air. We recommend electronic air purifiers, those that charge particulate in the air to clean it without blocking airflow. There are also UV lights to sterilize and kill germs and bacteria in the air. Ask a heating and air conditioning technician to learn more!
Don’t waste your time with the run-around. Call Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. and let us do it right the first time! We provide air conditioning services in Farmington, NM.