Indoor air quality is a crucial element for any homeowner, especially if your household members have respiratory problems. The right HVAC filters can make the difference between clogged air full of contaminants and clean air that is healthy and easy to breathe. Understanding the different types of air filters for homes is the first step to getting the best indoor air quality you deserve. Each of these filters has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which vary depending on the purpose you have for your home.
Some people need HVAC system filters that keep the air free of allergens and other contaminants, while others just need a basic filter to get the job done. In general, high-efficiency filters that are also cost-effective are best for homes, but other considerations should include whether there are pets in the house, if mold or mildew is a threat, and how often filters should be changed. It's wise to talk to an HVAC professional before making any decisions about air filters. To help gather information and weigh your options, you can compare the basic pros and cons of each type of filter.
Let's take a look at each type of filter and its features to narrow down the types that may be right for your home. People living with allergies or other respiratory problems may benefit most from HEPA filters. A contractor needs to adjust these filters to fit your specific HVAC system. As the name suggests, UV filters use short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses.
When air passes through the HVAC unit, UV lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. UV filters are excellent for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health, including mold spores. A potential danger 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 of ozone can worsen existing respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
While UV filters are great at removing bacteria and viruses, they aren't 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. Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye and bulbs usually need to be changed every year, depending on the make and model of the HVAC system. Using small cotton and paper fibers, electrostatic filters create static electricity that acts as a magnet for dust and other particles in the air.
The 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 for electrostatic filters is that they are available both 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 eco-friendly way to save money.
The starting price of this type of air filter for HVAC systems is high, but it should be considered as an investment that will last for many years. The starting price is likely all you'll have to pay, as you can simply wash and reuse the filter over and over again instead of buying a new one every few months. Washable filters need to be maintained well to ensure 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 reattaching it. Even the slightest amount of moisture that remains can cause mold and mildew to form on the filter and expel them 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 strong preferences about HVAC filter types and doesn't need any special filters. When it comes to air filters for HVAC systems, media filters can provide more benefits than standard filters with high MERV ratings.
Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a high MERV filter, but do so without the negative consequences of airflow or static pressure. In contrast, media filters have a larger surface area, which successfully avoids significant static pressure and provides better filtration. Media filters are very easy to maintain and ideal for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. Filtered dirt seals in the filter, preventing it from being ejected back into your home.
Media filters are also robust and cost-effective, so they need to be changed as infrequently as once or twice a year. Fiberglass strands are spun to create this type of filter, which is one of the most common types of HVAC filters.