Are Expensive Air Filters Worth It?

Not only do air filters remove dust allergens, mold spores, and other pollutants from the air your family breathes, but they also filter out fine dirt particles that can degrade the performance of the HVAC system itself. While it's a good idea in theory, it has multiple problems, such as lower MERV ratings, frequent maintenance requirements, and the potential to attract mold to your air unit. Are expensive air conditioning filters worth it? More expensive filters, such as pleated residential filters, filter dust mites, pollen, mold and pet dander, and even bacteria, making them worthwhile, especially for people with severe allergies. HEPA filters filter bacteria and viruses and are worth the extra money for people with respiratory conditions such as emphysema.

When most people talk about electronic air filters, they usually refer to an air purifier or an electrostatic air filter. 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. The new filters avoid additional billing over time by allowing air to pass through them with the minimum required airflow. In addition to the obvious steps, such as keeping windows and doors closed, Owen also advised turning off bathroom fans and range hoods, which vent directly to the outside and, as a result, draw an equal volume of smoked outside air through window frames and other leaking spots.

Doing so is likely to create airflow issues that increase utility costs and decrease blower life in the central air unit. That's a myth: The extra surface lets more air through, so the HVAC central unit doesn't have to work as hard to push air through it. 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. Air filters are an important factor in keeping your home clean and keeping the air you breathe healthy.

However, these filters have some drawbacks first, they usually cost significantly more than basic fiberglass filters. When the MERV rating of a filter is too high, then the mesh fabric starts to constrict air flow. Your home should be a place to relax and breathe easy, and air filters are the tools that help you do that. Expensive filters may seem like a luxury, but their role is too important to settle for lower quality filters. Both claim to be based on the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE 52.2 standard used to establish MERV ratings, but neither company offers an easily accessible explanation of how their own ratings differ or compare to MERV.

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.