Which Air Filter is Right for You? 4 Types Explained

Types of Air Filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each offering different air filtering capabilities. From electrostatic filters to UV filters, media filters, and activated carbon filters, there are many options to choose from. But which one is right for you? Electrostatic filters provide the highest level of filtration for small particles, making them a great choice for those with allergies or respiratory problems. These filters must be adjusted by a contractor to fit your specific HVAC system.

UV filters use short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. When air passes through the air conditioning unit, UV lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. UV filters are great for eliminating microorganisms that could be hazardous to health, including mold spores. However, 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 can worsen existing respiratory diseases, such as asthma. UV light is invisible to the human eye and bulbs usually need to be replaced every year, depending on the make and model of the air conditioning system. Electrostatic filters create static that acts as a magnet for dust and other particles suspended 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 of electrostatic filters is that they are available as 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. Washable filters are an environmentally friendly way to save money in the long run. The starting price of this type of air filter for air conditioning systems is high, but it should be considered an investment that will last for many years. The starting price is probably all you'll have to pay, since you can simply wash and reuse the filter over and over instead of buying new ones every few months. Washable filters must be well maintained to ensure that 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 putting it back in. Even the smallest amount of moisture left over can cause mold and mildew to form in the filter and expel it into the air you breathe. Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a filter with a high MERV content, but they 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, at the same time, provides better filtration.

Multimedia filters are very easy to maintain and are great for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. The filtered dirt is sealed in the filter, preventing it from returning back into your home. Media filters are also robust and cost-effective, and should be changed as infrequently as once or twice a year. The pleats of these filters give them an advantage over pleatless options because they increase the surface area of the filter for better filtering. Filters with more folds will filter better than those with fewer folds, since they trap even the most difficult allergens and contaminants, such as pet dander and mold spores.

Pleated filters are also available in reusable and disposable formats, and can help suppress HVAC fan noise. The downside of these filters is that they require your HVAC system to work a little harder to draw air through the unit, which can cause your HVAC system to lose efficiency sooner than expected. Because pleated filters slightly improve your home's air quality, they're a reasonably priced option for people concerned about indoor air quality. HEPA filters provide the highest level of protection when dealing with airborne particles. This type of filter is capable of capturing small microns and also has a MERV rating between 17 and 20, meaning it can trap tobacco smoke and bacteria. However, installing it is not an easy task, as modifications will likely be required by a contractor to work with your air conditioning system. Reusable air filters can be washed for continuous use, so there's no need to replace them completely.

However, they have a low MERV rating (between 1 and) and can also attract mold and mildew growth if installed before they dry out completely. Activated carbon filters have small absorbent pores that react chemically to contaminants as they pass through the filter. This causes contaminants to bind to the carbon and become trapped. These purifiers are effective at removing smoke, odors, chemicals, and even gases from the air. Activated carbon filters are rarely used alone to purify air and are often used in conjunction with other filters. When choosing an air filter for your home or business HVAC system, it's important to consider your needs carefully before making a decision.

Electrostatic filters offer excellent filtration capabilities for small particles while UV filters are great for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health. Media filters provide good filtration without sacrificing airflow or static pressure while washable filters offer an environmentally friendly way to save money in the long run. HEPA filters provide superior protection against airborne particles while reusable air filters offer convenience but may attract mold growth if not properly maintained. Finally, activated carbon filters are effective at removing smoke, odors, chemicals, and even gases from the air. No matter which type of filter you choose for your HVAC system, make sure you follow all maintenance instructions carefully in order to ensure optimal performance.

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