Which HVAC Filter Types Are the Best Options for Your Unit?

Your choice of HVAC filter types directly influences the air quality in your home, as well as the efficiency and performance of your heating and cooling system. Every breath of air you inhale inside your home has probably passed through your HVAC system filter many times. Most major HVAC manufacturers recommend monthly replacement of the system filter during the cooling season and a replacement at least every other month during the heating season.

However, there are multiple HVAC filter types to choose from at a variety of prices. So how do you sort out what’s best for your indoor environment and budget? Here are some criteria that can help you decide:

Manufacturer recommendations.

Always check the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer’s customer service department to find out if there are specific recommendations regarding HVAC filter types for your unit, as well as to learn what the recommended replacement interval is.

MERV ratings.

It’s the standard industry rating that expresses how effectively various HVAC filter types capture airborne particulates. The scale ranges from 1 (the least efficient and usually cheapest alternative) up to 20, a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter which removes 99% of the tiniest particulates. In general, cotton or polyester pleated filters in the MERV range of 8 are the most suitable HVAC filter types for typical residential use.

Filtration material.

Filters with MERV ratings in the lowest range typically utilize inexpensive fiberglass media and are thinner than more-efficient products. Cotton or polyester pleated filters are most common in the mid-range MERV ratings and are usually more than an inch thick. High-efficiency HEPA filters are made of a thick, tightly woven material that’s made of glass fibers and pleated. Because the density and thickness of these filters substantially reduces system airflow, HEPA filtration is generally appropriate only for HVAC units specifically designed for these filters.

For a professional opinion about the best HVAC filter types for your cooling and heating system, ask Paitson Bros. In Terre Haute, we’ve been your local source for healthy air quality and low operating costs since 1922.

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