When it comes to your air conditioner, an ounce of prevention is worth pounds of cure. In other words, it makes dollars and sense to have regularly scheduled preventative maintenance for your AC unit. While most of the preventative maintenance items should be completed by the experienced technicians at Comfort Systems, there are steps you can take yourself, such as changing your air filters.
Your air filters are vital to your HVAC system and indoor air quality. The filters are tasked with filtering out pet dander, pollen, dust, and other small particles that can impact your allergies and hinder your family’s ability to breathe. By trapping these particles, your filter prevents these pollutants from being circulated throughout your home.
In addition, the filters play an essential role in protecting your HVAC system from bigger particles that could cause damage. Considering the importance of your filters and the number of roles it plays, it’s imperative your filters are clean, functional, and right for your needs.
To help you make the most educated decision, the team at Comfort Systems has outlined the most common types of air conditioner filters for your home. Read on to learn more and don’t hesitate to reach out to Comfort Air for personalized solutions.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters
HEPA filters are very popular and highly effective solutions that can remove at a minimum of 99.7% of airborne pollutants and allergens. Recommended by the U.S. Department of Health, HEPA filters can even remove dust and mold spores that are as tiny as .3 microns. Most HEPA filters have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of close to 16, which is the highest possible rating.
The filter’s MERV rating explains its ability to capture larger particles between .3 and 10 microns. And the higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filter is. In short, HEPA filters offer the highest level of protection for your home.
HEPA filters can even remove the tiniest microns of bacteria and tobacco. As you can imagine, those who have allergies can benefit from HEPA filters the most. Although these filters are excellent for capturing pollutants, they are generally defenseless against gasses, fumes, and odors. These particles are usually too small to be captured by HEPA filters.
UV filters utilize shortwave light to kill viruses and bacteria. As air passes through your HVAC unit, the UV lamps will use germicidal radiation to disinfect it. As such, these types of filters are perfect for eradicating microorganisms that may be hazardous to your health, such as mold spores.
While UV filters are great for virus and bacteria elimination, they are not as effective at capturing pollutants, such as dust. Because of this, they are often a part of a more robust filtration system that typically includes HEPA filters. At the same time, these filters are ineffective against cigarette smoke, fumes, and gases.
Utilizing paper and cotton fibers, electrostatic filters generate static that acts as a magnet to dust and other airborne particles. The magnetic pull is so strong it prevents these particles from being circulated throughout your home.
Available as disposable filters and reusable, you can decide whether to get new ones or wash and reuse them. Although they can manage smaller pollutants, these filters often may not be as effective at filtering out mold spores, dust, and other larger pollutants.
If you’re looking for the most environmentally friendly filter, washable filters may be your solution. They can last for several years and continue to be washed. Although the initial price may be higher than other filters, you can use it over and over again. However, these filters typically have a lower MERV rating. Yet, washable filters can be a solid long-term investment for an individual who doesn’t need specialty filters.
Fiberglass Air Filters
Fiberglass air filters are the least expensive and probably the most popular. Causing less strain on the HVAC system when drawing in air, fiberglass filters are designed to keep larger particles out of your system. However, fiberglass air filters do not perform as well when it comes to keeping out smaller contaminant particles, such as dust. With a standard MERV rating of 4, these filters may not be the best solution if you or your family has respiratory problems or allergies.
Pleated Air Filters
Created from polyester or cotton folds, pleated air filters are a little more expensive than the fiberglass variety. And for the extra money, you’ll get a filter that is more effective at filtering dust and other small particles, like pet dander, mold spores, and pollen. In general, the more pleats the better the filter will be at filtering out particles.
Pleated filters will have a MERV rating that ranges from 5 up to 13. Even though they are excellent for filtering out pollutants, they do have low air filtration, which may cause your HVAC to work a little harder to move air. And this could cause your system to lose efficiency sooner than most would expect.
Contact Comfort Systems
As the leading team of HVAC specialists, Comfort Systems offers a range of HVAC maintenance and repair solutions. Our technicians can walk you through all of your filter options and help you make the best decision based on your unique needs.
Contact Comfort Systems today.