Healthier Household Air: What Homeowners Need to Know About Choosing the Right HVAC Filters

Owning a great space warrants great responsibility, down to the small things like keeping the hedges trimmed and changing the HVAC filter. Actually, filters should be changed every few months, something a number of homeowners neglect.

To operate a healthier household, change filters appropriately in addition to choosing the right ones for your circumstance.

You Get What You Pay For

Air filters are not meant to be a money pit that is cruelly designed to drain you of money to no end.

Filters are a necessity, and trying to save a few dollars can place you and family members in harm’s way.

Do family members have allergies or breathing conditions? While the genesis of their condition may be medical, you may be exacerbating their state by being cheap in selecting filters. Filters get rid of pollutants in the air, so family members breathe easier and stay healthy. You can’t put a price on that.

Moreover, if you’re thinking price, quality filters help save money on heating and cooling costs. Ask your Carefree Comfort service agent about more ways to save on home costs.

Types of Filters

Air filters are fixed with a MERV rating. Lower ratings are associated with filters of lesser quality. A fiberglass filter is put in place to protect heating and cooling components and don’t filter pollutants as well. Though these types of filters cost under $1, they have a MERV rating between 1 and 4.

Pleated air filters remove up to 45% of air pollutants in the home. With a MERV rating of over 10, they cost a bit more. However, pay attention to the number of pleats per foot. Less pleats per foot is a

devious way of sellers to get homeowners to pay more for filters that actually get dirtier than cheaper models.

High-efficiency air filters are sometimes coated so that the fibers catch small microbes of debris. They remove up to 85% of debris in the air and can lower the cost of your heating and cooling bill because associated equipment will run more efficiently.

These filters remove up to 98% of pollutants in the air and have a MERV rating between 17 and 20. However, a significant amount of pressure is needed for proper filtration to take place. You’ll need to invest in a high pressure filtration system to pair along with the HEPA filters.

Captured Particles

If you dread having to dust your home, search for air filters with better micron ratings. It won’t totally eliminate the need for dusting, yet better filters make a big difference. Particles, light enough to float through the air, range in size, from minute (0.0001 micron) to large (100 microns).

Larger particles won’t get caught in filters and settle throughout the home on furniture, pets, ledges, etc. Perhaps counterintuitive, cheaper filters are better at snagging the larger particles but not the finer ones. However, it is the smaller particles that are usually most harmful to your health. The majority of harmful pollutants are smaller than 5 microns.

Air Quality

Air quality is priceless and influences the health of family members in addition to the price of your heating and cooling bills. It may seem tempting to save money on cheaper filters, but you’re actually inspiring future health concerns and higher utility bills. For a  normal home, search for filters with a MERV rating of 10 or above and have (at least) 10 pleats per foot.

Carrol I. House is an environmental advisor. She loves to share her home environmental insights online. Her articles are available mostly on home improvement and DIY websites.

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