HVAC Air Filter Types and Replacement Guild Lines

May 25 2017
furnace filter guidelines

HVAC Air Filter Types and Replacement Guild Lines

After a long day at work, whether you are in the country or city, you deserve to feel and breathe clean air in your home. But, something as simple as clean air inside is more rare than you may think. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollutants rank among the top five environmental health risks. The main cause for this is that in the U.S., high construction standards have led many homes to be almost airtight. This contributes to poor air quality as it stops fresh from entering your home.

How To Improve Indoor Air Quality

First, provide ventilation to allow fresh air pass through the home. To make your home healthier allow clean air into it. Opening a window on a breezy day can easily do this.

But what about a hot or cold day when you want to keep the doors and windows closed?

When your HVAC system is working to keep the indoor temperature at comfortable levels, it’s also acting as a filter of the indoor air. Far too many homeowners, businesses and apartments do not change indoor air filters enough. Air conditioning and furnace filters help in removing allergy-provoking dust, pollen, smoke, pet dander and mold spores from the indoor air.

Three factors to consider before choosing a filter:

  • Ability to remove particles from the filter
  • Ability to resist airflow by the filter
  • Expected-operating life of the filter

To help in analyzing the efficiency of the replacement air filters, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) also provides a rating from 1 (lowest) to 20 (highest). There are four types of air filters.

Flat-Paneled Fiberglass Air Filters

They have a usual rating of 1 to 4 and consist of a disposable filter made of layered fiberglass. Reinforcements are provided with grating metal that gives strong support to prevent the fiber from collapsing. These are fairly inexpensive but also are not the best performing air filters. They do act to protect cooling and heating components and can capture airborne particles with their medium efficiency in cleaning the air.

Pleated Media Air Filters

With the efficiency rating of 5 – 13, these catch more particles than those of fiberglass. These are also made of disposable pleated polyester filters and the provision of pleats increase the surface area. Thus making it more efficient filters in capturing dust particles. A pleated air filter with a medium rating of efficiency is used for filtering small and even large particles. These are slightly more costly and with their effective cleaning, they make a better option to the Flat-paneled filters.

HEPA Air Filters


Without a doubt, these make the best air quality you get- given that these are recognized by HEPA. Even Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considered this as the ultimate product to remove airborne particles and keep the home safe. They are so sensitive that they can remove the particles of minute thicknesses of 0.3 microns or larger. Their efficiency makes sure that they catch more than 99.9% of the particles in the home and make is fresh.


Washable Air Filters


The only benefit with these air filters is that they are reusable. Though they have a rating of minute 1 – 4, they work for long period of time if properly maintained. They are made of strong plastic or sometimes even metal frames. Their polypropylene weaves stops pollutants and the mesh can be washed when removed and then be reused.


Buying Replacement Air Filters

It is not important to buy your filter from the place that installed your HVAC unit. Often, it is more affordable to purchase air filters from a dedicated or online specialty site.

Does the quality of air filter you’re buying matter? Given what we know about indoor air pollutants and the risk form indoor air, it is best to buy high quality air filters instead of cheapest available. Beyond protecting your health, a higher quality filter can actually save you future expenses if they need to be changed less. That said, it is recommended to replace air filters on a regular basis. And when your health is at stake, it is better to change filters regularly than to wait until you notice signs of a dirty air filter that may also damage your entire HVAC system by becoming clogged.

To summarize, it is recommended to always replace your HVAC air filters in line with manufacturer specifications. Even if you are your indoor air quality seems good, this will help your HVAC system operate more efficiently and reduce future maintenance expenses. Many people make the mistake that with a high quality air filter they don't need to replace it until they begin to suffer from allergies or asthma symptoms.

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