A filter is there for a very good reason. They stop things like dirt, pollen, unwanted debris and other allergens or particles in the air from entering your HVAC system. We want to stop them getting in because, ultimately, they can damage the system and this can lead to costly repairs. Making sure the filter is right and changing it regularly will help your unit last longer. More often than not people overlook how important the air filter is to your whole system. As a relatively cheap element, it is really central to the whole unit. As well as filtering out bits of unwanted dirt, they also act as a physical defense when large objects may fall or become loose.
Like most things, there are lots of different types and variants of air filters that you can choose from. You can find fiberglass, pleated, and electrostatic air filters that you can use in your HVAC. You can also choose from 1” as well as media filters. There are many uses for media filters, but there are special and specialized media filters than can filter air. As they are specialized, they are different from normal kinds of air filters. Media filters are normally about four to five inches thick that gives more surface area in the filter. This increases the air filtration ability of the filter and thus improves the overall air quality in your home. Therefore, you will probably find that it is easier to breathe and you will be catching colds less if you use a media filter. However, this increase in thickness does also mean that your system will need to work harder to get through such a thick filter, so you may see an increase in overall running costs by choosing a media filter.
A standard 1” filter will be less thick, so ultimately doesn’t filter as well. Both types of filters will be the same shape, although they are installed very differently. A media filter is put firmly into your HVAC system, which means all of the air must flow through the filter. Sometimes 1” filters are only put loosely into the HVAC system, meaning that not all of the air is filtered well. Another plus point about media filters is that they can be changed less regularly. Unlike a 1” standard air filter, you just need to change a media filter every three months or so, compared to monthly for a standard air filter. Another important aspect to think about when choosing an air filter is the MERV rating. This stands for the minimum efficiency reporting value. What it measures is how efficient your air filter is. Therefore, air filters with higher MERV ratings will be able to capture more air particles as they pass through the filter. For example, a 17-20 MERV rating will stop smoke, sea salt and carbon dust, whereas a 5-8 MERV rating will stop sprees and mold. For a residential home, a MERV rating of around 11 is the very highest you will ever need. Most great air filters do a good job at 5-8 ratings.