Does Home Air Filter Quality Really Matter?

Contrary to popular belief, the main purpose of an air filter is not to purify the air. However, a standard filter is not enough to do the job. When selecting a filter, it is important to check the MERV rating. MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Report Value, indicates how well a filter can capture contaminants.

If the MERV rating is too high, your HVAC system will need to work harder to produce efficient airflow. For instance, hospitals use filters with a rating of 16, but this is not necessary for home use and will increase energy costs. Fiberglass filters are one of the best types of AC filters because they are cost-effective, disposable, and protect air conditioners and ovens from dirt. However, these filters have some drawbacks; they usually cost more than basic fiberglass filters.

The advantage of an electrostatic filter is that it captures smaller particles than a standard washable filter and is completely reusable. About 10 years ago, manufacturers began adding more pleats (or folds) to air filters and increasing their surface area. 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. The cheapest filters are made of spun fiberglass, which does very little to filter the air compared to materials such as paper, cotton or polyester.

You may have heard that pleated filters restrict airflow, leading to a harder working oven or air conditioning unit that increases your energy costs and burns out the motor. Despite this, pleated filters are still a reasonably priced option for people who care about indoor air quality as they slightly improve air quality in your home. An electrostatic air filter is a washable air filter that uses static electricity to capture particles. Air filters remove particles of different sizes from the air before it flows through the blower to the rest of the house.

Using such a filter will likely create airflow issues that increase utility costs and decrease blower life in the central air unit. Not all filters are built the same way, so choosing the right filter depends on what you need to purify from the air. This is especially true in homes with older HVAC units, which weren't built to accommodate thicker air filters. But when it comes time to replace it, does it really matter what type of filter you choose? Aren't all filters basically the same? You've probably heard how important it is to change your home's air filter on a regular basis.

But when it comes time to replace it, does it really matter what type of filter you choose?.