What Are The Differences In HVAC Air Filters?

HVAC air filters are one of the most important parts in your system but often the most over-looked. There are several different HVAC air filters that you can choose from and I wanted to shed some light on which one(s) you should buy for your system.

Cardboard Filters (low MERV rating & 1″ thick):

These filters are the most common ones that I see in units and at Lowe’s or Home Depot. They do filter the air but they only catch big dust particles, not the small ones. Cardboard filters are very cost effective for those that do not want to spend a lot of money and do not have bad allergies.

Pleated Filters (low MERV rating & 1″ thick):

These filters are much better than a cardboard filter and catch more dust. Instead of the thin, hairy material used in a cardboard filter, pleated filters use heavier stitched material that looks similar to thin pieces of thread. Pleated filters cost more than cardboard filters but to me they are worth the extra money.

Cardboard & Pleated Filters (medium MERV rating & 2″ to 4″ thick)

These filters are not required to be changed every month because they can hold more substance than a regular 1″ cardboard filter. They are expensive but they catch a lot more stuff in the air than the previous ones I mentioned. I would recommend going with one of these filters but keep in mind that your existing system may have to have a special compartment for the thicker filter. You will not be able to find these at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Pleated Filters (high MERV rating & have special cabinets)

These filters are the best, in my opinion. These filters are hospital grade filters that can catch almost anything in the air. These filters are about 4″ thick and have special cabinets (like the Bryant Perfect Air Purifier ) that have to be installed by HVAC professionals. Obviously they are going to be more expensive than the standard 1″ throw away, but for those of us that have allergies they are well worth the money!

I hope this helps you decide which air filter is best for your home. Indoor air quality is very important in west Texas and having the right air filter can make your home a better place to live.

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