What Kind of Air Filter Do I Need for My HVAC System? - A Comprehensive Guide

Indoor air quality is an essential factor for any homeowner, especially if their household members have respiratory problems. The right HVAC filters can make the difference between congested air full of contaminants and clean air that's healthy and easy to breathe. Understanding the different types of air filters for homes is the first step to getting the improved indoor air quality you deserve. To help you gather information and evaluate your options, you can compare the basic advantages and disadvantages of each type of filter.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHARE) recommends a MERV 6 or higher filter for most residential areas. Most people use a MERV 8 filter, while hospitals typically use MERV 14 to MERV 20. Let's take a look at each type of filter and their features to narrow down the types that may be right for your home. Those living with allergies or other respiratory problems may benefit more from HEPA filters.

These filters must be adjusted by a contractor to fit your specific HVAC system. As the name suggests, UV filters use shortwave UV light to kill bacteria and viruses. When air passes through the air conditioning unit, UV lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. UV filters are great for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health, including mold spores. A potential hazard of UV filters is that they can transform oxygen into ozone, which can be hazardous to health.

Even low amounts of ozone can cause coughing and chest pain, while higher amounts can cause existing respiratory diseases, such as asthma, to worsen. Although UV filters are great at eliminating bacteria and viruses, they are not as efficient when it comes to protecting against contaminants such as dust. That's why they're often part of a larger filtration mechanism, including HEPA air filters. UV light is invisible to the human eye, and bulbs generally need to be replaced every year, depending on the make and model of the HVAC system. By using tiny cotton and paper fibers, electrostatic filters create static that acts like a magnet for dust and other particles suspended in the air.

Magnetism is strong enough to prevent these particles from spreading throughout the house, making them one of the best options for those who need a filter that can combat allergens. An additional advantage of electrostatic filters is that they are available as disposable and reusable. When it's time to change the filters, you can decide whether to wash and reuse them or throw them away and buy new ones. While certain types of air filters come with reusable and disposable options, washable filters are an environmentally friendly way to save money. The starting price of this type of air filter for air conditioning systems is high, but it must be considered an investment that will last for many years.

The starting price is likely to be all you'll have to pay, as you can simply wash and reuse the filter over and over instead of buying a new one every few months. Washable filters must be well maintained to ensure that they work as they should. As one of the main types of air filters, they come with maintenance instructions that must be followed. It is very important to ensure that the filter is completely dry before putting it back in.

Even the smallest amount of moisture that remains can cause mold and mildew to form on the filter and to expel it into the air you breathe. While these filters have a low MERV rating, they are a great long-term investment for someone who doesn't have a strong preference for HVAC filter types and doesn't need any special filters. When it comes to air filters for air conditioning systems, media filters can offer more benefits than standard filters with high MERV ratings. Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a high-MERV filter, but they do so without the negative consequences of airflow or static pressure. In contrast, media filters have a larger surface area, successfully preventing significant static pressure while providing better filtration.

Media filters are very easy to maintain and are great for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. The filtered dirt is sealed in the filter, preventing it from being expelled back into your home. Media filters are also robust and cost-effective, and must be changed as infrequently as once or twice a year. Fiberglass threads are spun to create this type of filter which is one of the most common types of HVAC filters. It's one of the best types of air conditioning filters because it's cost-effective, disposable, and protects air conditioners and ovens from dirt. Of the different types of air conditioning filters available, spun glass is one of the most effective.

But if you're looking for an air purifier, a higher-tech option would be more suitable. These filters aren't known for improving air quality as they can't try too hard and can only trap some of the dust and allergens. For this reason, these filters are not recommended for people who have respiratory problems and need clean air.

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