Types of HVAC Filters and Their Efficiencies


Your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system (HVAC) provides your home with cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter.  However, without a proper HVAC filter, your system will not operate in an efficient manner nor will it provide the benefits of cleaner air.  The different types of HVAC filters are designed to protect the mechanisms in your HVAC system from particles such as dirt and dust.  Equally important, the type of HVAC filter you use can play a big role in the air quality of your home.  

 

 

By changing or cleaning your filters regularly, you can avoid unnecessary expenses and improve the quality of air in your home.  While most filters only trap dust, lint, pollen, mold spores, and particles similar in size between 2.0 and 10.0 microns there are some filters that exceed the 2.0 particle size.  These filters have the ability to trap smaller particles such as bacteria, viruses, smoke, smog, and droplet nuclei.  Here is a brief overview of the different types of HVAC filters and their ability to remove or trap particles.

 

Types Of HVAC Filters

The type of HVAC filter you use will impact the overall efficiency, how often you should change your filter, as well as the type and size of particles that are trapped. In this article, we will review the different types of filters along with efficiencies, Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings, and the particle size that each filter can effectively trap.  

Filti Nanofiber Filter

Filti manufactures high-quality HVAC filters that use cutting edge nanofiber technology.  Filti filters can be washed, dried, and reused.  This allows them to be used on a long term basis and is very cost-effective as well as environmentally sustainable.  The Filti nanofiber technology can trap some of the smallest particles possible.  

Filti filters are efficient HVAC filters that have a MERV rating of 16 and have proven to be more efficient in trapping particles that fall into the range of .03 and 1.0 microns.  This includes bacteria, viruses, smoke, smog, and droplet nuclei.  They can trap at least 95% of small particles which are the same qualities as the protective N95 masks.  

virus trapping filters

 

HEPA Filter Type

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) is an acronym that is well known throughout the world. This type of filter is designed with very small filaments that act as a membrane to trap or collect very small particulates that can cause problems with your HVAC system as well as health issues.  HEPA filters are highly efficient and can absorb, on average 99.5% of contaminants that could be floating in your air.  It is not recommended to clean a standard HEPA filter as it can damage the fibers in the filter.  There is however some HEPA filters that can be washed.  The overall price of this type of filter can be costly

HEPA filters do not have a MERV rating.  They are however required to have a 99.7% efficiency for particles that are .03 microns. 

Fiberglass Air Filters

Fiberglass filters are very affordable however they have the lowest rating when it comes to trapping dust particles and other pollutants that are in the air.  They have a MERV rating of around 1-4.  Fiberglass filters are good at trapping 20% of large particles that are 10.0 pm in particle size.  This includes pollen, dust, and carpet fibers.  From a clean air perspective, fiberglass filters are on the low side and do not do much in the way of improving the air quality in your home.

types of hvac filters

Electrostatic Filters

Electrostatic filters, depending on the type, have a MERV rating of 3-8.  These filters are able to effectively trap 20% to 69% of larger particles such as dust, pollen, and carpet fibers that are 3.0 to 10.0 pm in particle size.  The positive side is that electrostatic filters are affordable, but they lack the ability to trap smaller particles that can negatively impact your health such as mold spores, bacteria, and viruses.  They use static electricity to trap particles in the air which makes the particles heavier.   

Pleated Filter

Pleated filters are very popular and are made of either cotton or polyester. The reason that they are pleated is to provide a higher amount of surface area to trap dust and pollutants. These filters are capable of trapping more airborne particles than standard filters. They typically have an angular or triangular design that runs laterally.  The more pleats the filter has the better the performance. 

Pleated cotton and polyester filters have a MERV rating of 5-8 and capture particles that are 3.0 to 10.0 pm in particle size.  And are able to effectively trap 20% to 69% of large particles and up to 50% of small particles.

pleated filter

 

How Often Should Different Types of HVAC Filters be Changed?

It is important to change your HVAC filter every 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of filter and thickness.  Depending on where you live and if you have pets, you may need to change your filters more often.  Be sure to check your HVAC filter monthly for buildup and if the filter has visible dirt, its time to be replaced.  Never forget that your filter is there to protect you and your HVAC system so changing them regularly is extremely important

Now that you have a better understanding of the variation of HVAC filters that are available, choosing an HVAC filter is much easier.  And as a homeowner, you are now armed with information to make a choice on what is best for you and your family.  At Filti our primary mission is to support healthier lifestyles by providing products that aid in superior air quality.  For more information on Filti products, visit our website.  At Filti, We Filter Out the Bad!    

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