There are plenty of filters to choose from but understanding which one suits your home best can be confusing. To help you make the best decision for your home, there are a few things to consider. What types of filters are there and what does each one do?
Washable Filters 1″
These filters seem like a smart buy, however, when they are manufactured there is a mist of oil sprayed on each filter, this oil helps to catch dust particles and clean the air. After this filter has been washed a few times, the oil is gone and it acts more like a screen than a filter.
Fiberglass Filters 1”
These filters can be found almost anywhere on the market, hardware store, online, etc. This is the lowest grade style of filter, spun from glass that can only stop large mitts and debris in the system. This has no real benefit to the quality of air since it can only stop large pieces of dust giving you minimal protection of HVAC equipment and quality IAQ. These filters must be replaced monthly.
Pleaded Filters 1-5”
This is a step up from the lowest grade filter, since the material is made from polyester or cotton folds, that cover the entire surface to, it can catch large mitts/ debris and smaller airborne particles like dust, pet hair, and allergies. The 1” filters are relatively inexpensive are get changed around the 2-3 month range, while the 5” can last from 6 months to a year.
Electronic Air Cleaner 5”
An EAC is one of the best options to clean your air of dust and debris. Unlike all other filters, the EAC filter never needs to be changed but rather washed regularly. There are studies concerning the amount of ozone an EAC can produce however, there is also a study that shows that the ozone in the air outside is at higher levels than what is produced by an EAC in a home, so there is no apparent effects.
HEPA filters are the best filter you can buy to clean your air up to %99.97 of all dirt, debris, dust particles. These systems have filter cartridges that are replace every 6 months to a year. One downside is typically ony 30% of your homes air will go through the filter at a time where-as all other filters have 100% air flow through them. HEPA filters require long furnace fan run times to achieve high levels of clean air.
UV lights are the only option available to homeowners to address sickness, viruses, disease, bacteria, mold, pathogens. These systems are installed in your ductwork and the air flows over the light being cleaned of any of germs. The bulb usually last 1-2 years before needing to be replaced by a technician.
There are combined filtration systems available that we feel are the best bang for your buck. These systems usually have a pleated filter, an UV light and an electrostatic (tiny EAC) built into 1 filter box. On average you change the filter every 6 months to a year and can buy all 3 in a package.