When it comes to the health and comfort of your family, friends, and other guests, it's important to consider investing in a high quality air filter. More expensive filters, such as pleated residential filters, are worth the extra money as they can filter out dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander, bacteria, and even viruses. HEPA filters are especially beneficial for those with respiratory conditions such as emphysema. It's important to check the MERV rating of any filter you purchase.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Report Value and tells you how well a filter can capture contaminants. If the MERV rating is really high, your HVAC system will have to work harder to produce efficient airflow. For example, hospitals use filters with a rating of 16, but that is not necessary for your home environment and using a filter with such a high rating will increase your energy costs. Washable air filters are also an option, but they come with their own set of issues such as lower MERV ratings, frequent maintenance requirements, and the possibility of attracting mold into your air unit.
The cheapest filters are made of spun glass fiber which does very little to filter air compared to materials such as paper, cotton or polyester. That's why it's important to use only air filters with the MERV rating recommended by the HVAC system manufacturer. If you can find a reusable filter that captures the types of contaminants you need to filter for your family, then you could pay more money upfront but in the end you'll save money. In the real world, with the air in your home constantly recirculating through the ducts and passing through the filters every time, the cumulative effect of the filters increases.
An independent test of the effects of MERV filters 8 through 13 on HVAC airflow and energy consumption concluded that even “if no adaptations are made for the higher pressure drop of high MERV filters, penalties for airflow and energy is not likely to be serious at least, not until the filter is laden with dirt. A little over 10 years ago, manufacturers began to put more folds (or pleats) on air filters and increase their surface area. This is especially true of homes with older HVAC units which were not built to house thicker air filters. If your HVAC system uses a coarser filter (usually in the 4 to 5 inch range and usually mounted on the air handler), it is likely designed specifically for medium-efficiency MERV filtration. When it comes to deciding whether or not to pay more for a better filter, it depends primarily on whether cleaner air is a priority for you.
Expensive filters may seem like a luxury but their function is too important to settle for lower quality filters. It's a good idea to call professionals at Super Heat & Air for all your HVAC needs including general maintenance, emergency repairs, installation, duct cleaning and air quality audits.