Does Air Filters Really Matter? A Comprehensive Guide

The short answer is, yes, air filters do matter. Different types of air filters are available, and choosing the right one can make a real difference to the lifespan of your HVAC system. Most air filters are 1 inch thick, but some systems can accommodate filters 2 to 5 inches thick. In our tests, we found that the thicker the filter, the better it works and the longer the replacement intervals. An air filter's primary purpose is to remove impurities such as dust, pet dander, or even bacteria from the air that flows through the system.

Not only does this improve the air quality inside your home, but it also protects your HVAC system from potential damage. It's important to note that not all filters are built the same way, so choosing the right filter depends on what you need to purify from the air. When selecting an air filter, you'll also want to consider factors such as cost. 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. When selecting an air filter, make sure to check its MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Report Value and is a measure of how well a filter removes particles from the air. If the MERV rating is too high, your HVAC will need to work harder to produce efficient airflow. For example, hospitals use filters with a rating of 16, but that's not necessary for your home environment, and using a filter with such a high rating will increase your energy costs. In general, high-efficiency filters that are also cost-effective are best for homes.

Other considerations should include whether there are pets in the house, if mold is a threat, and how often filters need to be changed. Feel free to call if you need more information or if you are ready to make an appointment to set up an air filtration system for your home. Pleated filters work to capture an extremely high percentage of large particles and a much larger number of small particles than competing filter types. If you have little airflow, check the air filter since clogged filters are one of the most common reasons. Filters with more pleats will provide better filtration than those with fewer folds, trapping even the toughest allergens and contaminants such as pet dander and mold spores. The experts at David Gray Heating & Air have extensive experience and knowledge to help you with your air filtering needs.

For more information on individual products that use filters such as air purifiers, room air conditioners, and dehumidifiers refer to their specific buying guides. Therefore, while pleats offer thicker filter media, their larger surface area allows more clearance for air to pass. Placing more folds (sometimes called pleats) on air filters increases their surface area and more surface area means more space to trap particles in the air. However, proper domestic air filtration requires you to change your home's air filters regularly before you start seeing evidence that it's been a while since you changed them. All of them (and Owen) told us that MERV filters in this range restrict airflow more than low-MERV filters as measured by the drop in air pressure that filters create when installed. Media filters are very easy to maintain and ideal for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. If you can find a reusable filter that captures the types of contaminants you need to filter for your family then you could pay more money upfront but ultimately save money.

Hannah Sawatzki
Hannah Sawatzki

Hipster-friendly pop culture maven. Hipster-friendly web practitioner. Infuriatingly humble bacon nerd. General social media fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast.