How To Know Which Air Filter to Use, And How To Use It

An air filter is an incredibly significant investment whether you live in the big city and need to get rid of those outside odors and make sure the air you breathe is free from pollutants and exhaust, or if you live in the country and can’t stand all that pollen in the air. If there is one thing that for sure it is that you need the right one for your needs.

But when the time comes to buy an air filter, you may suddenly find yourself surprised at the complex and impressive range of choices you have. What kind of air filter should you buy? Is there a real difference between all of these filters?

Well, we’re here to simplify this for you and help you pick just the right filter for you and your family’s needs.

Electrostatic Pleated Air Filters

So what is an Electrostatic air filter? Well, it’s a filter that uses static electricity to charge particles in the air, these charged particles then pass through the filter and cling magnetically to the material. The air you then breathe is free of any potentially harmful particles. The Electrostatic pleated air filters are a special kind of electrostatic air filter which combines the common elements of an electrostatic filter with paper pleated air filters.

This has the advantage of the impressive performance; generally, an Electrostatic pleated air filter will outperform any other equivalent filter. The main downside is cost, not only will an electrostatic pleated air filter have a higher upfront cost when compared to other air filters, but you will also need to periodically replace the pleated paper component whenever it gets clogged up. The price is worth it though, as these filters will ensure that you and your family are breathing air free from any undesired particles.

So what electrostatic pleated air filter should you get? Well, two factors will determine the best option for you. Size and MERV rating. Size is a pretty obvious concern, and you can quickly determine what proportion of filter you should get depending on the size of your house and the size of your vents. MERV ratings or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value ratings are an industry standard that measures the performance of a filter and the type of particles that it can remove from the air. For a household air filter, the range of MERV values ranges from 6 to 13. A higher MERV rating indicates a filter that can remove more particles, but is more expensive. While a higher MERV rating may seem attractive, even a filter with a rating of 6 could be good enough for your needs.

Electrostatic Washable Air Filters

Another category of electrostatic air filters is washable filters. These filters do not have a pleated paper component. This means that these filters are generally not as good at clearing away smaller particles like another electrostatic air filter. So what advantage do they have when compared to the pleated variant? Well, first of all, electrostatic washable air filters have no parts that need to be replaced, that means you only need to buy the filter, and it will cost you nothing more for the rest of its life. A second advantage is that these filters are more environmentally friendly as they produce less waste than pleated air filters.

Apparently, though it is not all sunshine and rainbows washable Electrostatic air filters are less effective at getting rid of odors when compared to other kinds of air filters. Also, if you do not wash the filters for a long enough period, you will end up with mold growing on your filter, which could ruin the device and can be potentially unhealthy for you. Electrostatic washable filters also come in different sizes and MERV ratings, although you will generally find that a washable filter will be cheaper than an electrostatic pleated air filter of the same size and grade.

Fiberglass Air Filters

Fiberglass air filters are a non-electrical category of air filters. They work by having a filter made of spun fiberglass that will trap larger particles but let air pass through. Fiberglass air filters are specifically designed to capture large particles like pollen and dust mites but are otherwise very ineffective at trapping any smaller particles like emissions and pollutants. So a fiberglass air filter is a good option if you are interested in a non-electrical filter or have hay fever and need to avoid pollen. Fiberglass air filters are possibly the most cost-effective options available. Their simple construction, materials, and installation make them very easy to use and a straightforward choice for those people that need an easy solution for their air filter needs.

Standard Pleated Air Filters

We have already talked about electrostatic filters with a pleated paper component added to them for extra performance but what about standard pleated air filters do they have any advantages? Well, similarly to fiberglass filters they do not need a power source for the most part, on the other hand, they periodically need to have their paper component replaced making them more expensive when compared to fiberglass.

They do have the advantage of being better at dealing with allergens in the air when compared to other types of filters, so if you have allergies, these may be the filters for you. While the need for periodic replacements does make these filters a more costly option, they are just as easy to install and use as the fiberglass filters. While being more reliable than electrostatic alternatives.

So How Do I Make a Decision?

When shopping for your filter, it may be easy to accidentally get a filter that is more expensive than what you need or one that does not suit you. Just pick what kind of air filter you find most appropriate from the ones detailed above and find a size and MERV rating that satisfies your house and your requirements. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy clean, quality air at its best.

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