Do Higher Quality Air Filters Really Matter?

Do higher quality air filters really make a difference? The answer is yes. More expensive air filters are generally more effective, but the type of filter you need depends on your individual circumstances. For instance, a single person without pets and allergies may not need as much filtration as a family of five with three pets and a child with asthma. It's also important to consider how long your air filter will last.

Heating and cooling can make up a large portion of your utility bill, and the air filter plays an important role in keeping your central air system running smoothly. A clogged filter can restrict airflow, preventing the system from working properly and eventually leading to equipment failure. If you're experiencing little airflow, check the air filter first – it's one of the most common causes. Installing a good quality air filter in your oven or air conditioner is essential for your health.

It traps and removes particles and other contaminants from the indoor air, so you can breathe easier in your home. An air filter not only improves indoor air quality, but it also prevents damage to your electronics, furniture, and the structure of your home. You should refer to the instructions for your HVAC system and specific filter for maintenance guidelines, but generally you should change filters at least every season, if not once a month. Not all filters are created equal, so it's important to choose the right one for what you need to purify from the air.

Some people need HVAC system filters that keep allergens and other contaminants out of the air, while others just need a basic filter to get the job done. Washable filters aren't much better than disposable ones, but high-end permanent filters can compete with disposable pleated filters, which are available in a range up to MERV 12 or higher. You may have heard that pleated filters restrict airflow, leading to a harder working oven or air conditioning unit that increases energy costs and burns out the engine. However, these filters have some drawbacks – they usually cost significantly more than basic fiberglass filters, and they must be the right size to fit your HVAC system. In actual use, with the air in your home constantly recirculating through the ducts and passing through the filters each time, the cumulative effect of the filters increases.

While certain types of air filters come with reusable and disposable options, washable filters are an eco-friendly way to save money. Compared to cheaper basic filters available, medium-efficiency MERV filters such as the Nordic Pure MERV 12 can greatly reduce airborne dust, mold spores, pollen and even smoke – according to an NIH review – which can help alleviate respiratory ailments. You can also purchase smart filters such as 3M Filtrete smart air filters that use sensors to monitor airflow. It's one of the best types of AC filters because it's cost-effective, disposable, and protects air conditioners and ovens from dirt. Plus, pleated filters don't have to be changed as often as non-pleated ones – just once every 3 months instead of once a month.