October 20, 2020

As a homeowner who depends on a heating and cooling system on a regular basis, you know that air filters are integral to that system. By collecting dust and other pollutants, an air filter keeps the HVAC unit running smoothly. However, not all air filters are created equal. There are differences to keep in mind, especially when the time comes to replace your current filter.

Some Air Filters Last Longer

At the lowest end of the spectrum cost-wise are fiberglass filters, which remain effective for no more than 30 days. More long-lasting, and perhaps the most appropriate for the average home, is the pleated filter. This filter is made from polyester or cotton paper and comes with pleats, or folds, that give it more surface area. You can replace a pleated filter every 60 to 90 days.

What Pollutants Can Air Filters Catch?

Filters vary based on the size of pollutants that they can capture. For example, fiberglass filters can easily capture lint and other large particles, but you’ll need pleated filters to capture things like mold spores, dust mite droppings, and pet dander.

To know what a filter can capture, refer to its MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it uses a scale of one to 16, with one being the least effective. Pleated filters only register between five and eight on the MERV rating chart. For something higher, you’d have to consider a rigid cell filter, which can reach a rating of 12 and filter out humidifier dust and bacteria like Legionella.

Some Air Filters Are Washable

Besides the disposable fiberglass and pleated filters, you have your choice of washable, reusable filters like electrostatic filters. These use an electrostatic charge to attract and hold onto pollutants. Though more expensive than their disposable counterparts, electrostatic filters can virtually last as long as your system.

Experienced Technicians at Your Service

Filter replacements and doing regular filter cleaning are part of any professional maintenance plan. Backed by more than 20 years’ worth of experience, 1st Choice Mechanical LLC can provide you with a heating or AC tune-up here in Peoria, AZ, so contact us today. Our team can also assist with heating and cooling repairs and installations.

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