Are Expensive Air Filters Worth It?
Air filters are an important factor in keeping your home clean and keeping the air you breathe healthy. But why is there such a range of pricing when it comes to purchasing air filters? Do you really need to buy the most expensive option? Here’s our take:
Why Do You Need an Air Filter?
Air filters capture particles in the air and keep them from blowing out of your air vents. This helps purify the air in your home by removing allergens like pollen, dust, smoke, and pet dander. Air filters are important for everyone, but especially for those suffering from allergies or respiratory illnesses like asthma and hay fever.
Air filters are also important for people who live in a highly polluted area because they can filter out harmful pollutants in the air. Some days are worse than others for air pollutants, and the government will occasionally issue warnings for the elderly, sick, or young children. Many times, those warnings are issued on the hottest days. Having a high-quality air filter for those days is especially important.
What Are the Benefits of Air Filters?
The primary function of an air filter is to remove impurities like common allergens from the air you breathe, but there are other benefits to using air filters as well:
- Control indoor pollution levels
- Remove bacteria and microbial growth
- Improve the airflow in your home
- Protect your air conditioning
Why Are There So Many Air Filter Choices?
When it comes to choosing an air filter, the choices might seem overwhelming. You can choose 1-inch, 5-inch, reusable, washable, electronic, HEPA, and more. What do all these options really mean?
The thicker your air filter, the longer it will last. A 1-inch filter will clog up with particles much faster than a 4- or 5-inch filter. When looking at the packaging, check for the manufacturer’s recommended replacement dates. This will give you a good idea of the value of a thicker air filter.
What about electronic air filters? The word "electronic" is a bit misleading. When most people say "electronic air filter," they are usually talking about either an air purifier or an electrostatic air filter. An air purifier is a separate unit that removes small particles from your home. It can be attached to your HVAC unit, but it is not the same as a filter that goes inside your central HVAC unit near the return. Air purifiers are an excellent choice for exceptional air quality in addition to an air filter. An electrostatic air filter is a washable air filter that uses static electricity to capture particles. The value of an electrostatic filter is that it captures smaller particles than a standard washable filter and is completely reusable.
For the most effective air filtration, use a HEPA filter. These High Efficiency Particulate Air filters capture airborne particles as small as 0.3 micrometers. Though they are the most expensive on the market, they last longer and keep your air cleaner.
With any filter, make sure to check out the MERV rating. MERV or minimum efficiency reporting value, tells you how well a filter can capture contaminants. If a MERV rating is really high, your HVAC will need to work harder to produce efficient airflow. For example, hospitals use filters with a rating of 16, but that’s not necessary for your home environment, and using a filter with a rating that high will increase your energy costs.
What’s the Best Value When It Comes to Air Filters?
It’s important to weigh all your options when looking at air filters. Consider your specific filtration needs. Do you have long-haired cats and dogs that shed? Does anyone in your family have environmental allergies? Yes, in general, the more expensive air filters are more effective, but a single person with no pets and allergies might not need as much filtration as a family of five with three pets and a child with asthma.
Also, consider how long your air filter will last. Look at the label and consider the manufacturer’s recommendations about how often to replace the filter. If you can find a reusable filter that captures the types of pollutants you need to filter out for your family, then you might pay more upfront but save money in the end. High-quality filters tend to last longer, so even though cheaper filters might be tempting, you could end up spending more.
When it comes to the health and comfort of your family, friends, and other guests, it is a good idea to get the most efficient air filter you can afford. Not only do filters enable people to breathe more easily, they can reduce odors, making your home a more pleasant place to live. And if you really want to purify the air in your home, consider adding an air purifier.
The experts at David Gray Heating & Air have extensive experience and the knowledge to assist you with your air filtering needs. Please feel free to call us at (904) 724-7211 if you need more information or are ready to make an appointment to set up an air filtration system for your home.