Different kinds of air filters can be used during an air conditioning replacement project. But before deciding on a specific type of filter, it’s important to learn more about your options. Your HVAC filters have an important function that affects the health of the occupants and the home’s indoor air quality (IAQ).
These filters are responsible for filtering dust, pollen, pet dander, and other small particles and contaminants that are found in the air — which you and your family can breathe. When your heating and cooling system takes and blows out air, these particles are trapped in the filter to prevent them from being recirculated throughout your home.
The quality of the air filter is measured in Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) and is used to indicate a filter’s ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns — meaning the higher the MERV rating of an air filter is, the better it is in filtering air.
You can choose from numerous kinds of air filters on the market, and electrostatic air filters are one of them.
To learn more about electrostatic filters, AC troubleshooting system expert Air Products & Services shares more information about this filter type in this post.
Electrostatic Air Filters
Other types of air filters share one common thing — they are made with fibers, attract particles, and clump them together on the surfaces of the air filters as air passes through them. However, this can cause clogging that will eventually make it harder for your HVAC system to blow and pull in air. The particles also become a health hazard as they accumulate since they can get blown in along with the air and produce foul odors.
Electrostatic air filters perform the same filtering functions as the other filter types but don’t get clogged. This is because they use static electricity to attract animal dander, mold spores, pollen, and other particles and contaminants. And unlike other air filters, they can last for a long time, especially with proper cleaning and maintenance.
For most homes, electrostatic air filters are superior to the more common filters, and their MERV rating depends on the manufacturer and the quality of the air filter. However, when it comes to more thorough filtration, HEPA filters outperform electrostatic air filters.
Keep in mind that as MERV ratings go up, so does the strain on your HVAC system. Furthermore, the finer the filters get, the harder it is for air to pass through.
That said, electrostatic air filters are an ideal choice when it comes to cost-effectiveness and longevity. But they can be outperformed by HEPA filters in the filtration aspect.
The Importance of Air Filters to Your Home’s IAQ
Indoor air quality directly affects the health of all the occupants and is an important factor to consider in any residential or commercial setting. Air filters assist in improving IAQ by filtering all kinds of particles, contaminants, and allergens. If you live with a family member that is susceptible to airborne allergies (especially during certain seasons) you should opt for a quality air filter during air conditioning replacement so you can significantly improve your home’s IAQ.
In a commercial setting, air filters are crucial especially if you handle food and other live products. In a normal office, air filters help keep the air clean and reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. They also help prevent certain odors from pervading the rest of the work areas. It’s important to note that businesses that involve food require more frequent and thorough air filtration.
Other Types of Air Filters
There are different types of air filters to choose from for your HVAC system, such as:
- Pleated air filter. This is a type of air filter constructed from folds of cotton or polyester and is typically rated with MERV 5 to 8. It costs a little more than fiberglass filters, but it is better at removing dust and other tiny particles like pollen, mold spores, and pet dander. Pleated filters offer better filtration and lessen the chance of recirculating dust and other pollutants in the air when properly installed and replaced. If you’re not familiar with how to replace your HVAC system’s air filters, it’s always best to consult a trained AC repair technician.
- Fiberglass air filter. This is the least expensive and easily disposable air filter. Classified as a MERV 4, fiberglass air filters can keep large particles out of your HVAC system and ease the burden on your HVAC when it’s drawing in air. Nevertheless, they are less effective at blocking dust and other finer particles or smaller pollutants. While they’re cheap, this kind of air filter might not be reliable enough to help prevent respiratory issues if you or members of your household have allergies or other conditions. If you’re fine with a disposable air filter with average performance or need one immediately without impacting your budget, these filters are a good enough option.
- UV filter. Most of the time, integrated air purifiers have UV filters built into them. These filters eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other microbes in the air that flows through them by using UV light. They are great if you have issues with your home’s IAQ, but they are not very effective at removing dust and other contaminants. To know if it’s ideal for your HVAC system or not, it’s best to ask your local AC repair expert.
- HEPA filter. This is a standard choice among homes and commercial buildings. It is also recommended if you or any members of your family suffer from allergies or other respiratory issues. They are highly effective in removing up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, viruses, bacteria, and other irritants in the air. These filters, however, are more expensive than fiberglass or pleated air filters. They are usually classified as MERV 11 or above. Since air filters with higher MERV ratings can make it harder for your HVAC system to pull in air, you should consult a professional before installing a HEPA filter.
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