What Type of Air Filter Is Best for My Home?

Florida’s warm, humid air can saturate your air filter, requiring more frequent changes to operate at peak performance. So, what type of air filter should you replace it with? There are several to choose from, but here we break down how to choose the HVAC filter type that’s right for your home.

What Type of Air Filter is Best for HVAC Air Quality?

Understanding MERV-rated filters will help you choose the right air filter for your system. MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) is a system to assess how effectively each filter removes contaminants from the air. The higher the value, the more particles the filter can remove. It also gives you a rough HVAC filter particle size rating that gives you an idea of what size of contaminants your filter removes from the air. Higher-rated filters capture smaller particles. This information can help you choose the best filter for your home.

  • Promoting the highest air quality. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends an HVAC filter with a MERV rating of 13 or higher. At this level, the filter clears 75% of contaminants the size of bacteria (0.3-1.0 microns).

  • Maximizing filter efficiency. Choosing a filter with a rating above your system’s compatibility can decrease your air quality. The increased filter layers restrict airflow, overworking and wearing down your HVAC system. More contaminants stay in your air with less air passing through the filter. Instead, choose a filter that is the highest MERV-rated that your system supports.

  • Sizing your filter. When choosing between air filter sizes, get as close to exact measurements as possible. First, look at your current filter. A label on the side often indicates the length, width, and depth—in that order. If the size isn’t printed on the filter, take a tape measure and note the dimensions.

Types of HVAC Filters

While the MERV rating gives an idea of which filters may work with your system, there are several different air filter types you can consider:

  • Fiberglass. Fiberglass filters are inexpensive and easy to install, but they have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. They can collect some pollen particles and dust mites, but they are ineffective at improving air quality.

  • Electrostatic. Harnessing some electrostatic energy, these types of filters self-charge cotton or paper fibers to attract contaminants in the air, capturing them in the filter. With a MERV rating between 8 and 10, electrostatic filters can remove particles of mold, cleaning products, or auto fumes. However, the organic material of electrostatic filters makes them ideal homes for mold colonies, which form easily in Pompano Beach’s humid air.

  • Pleated. These cotton or polyester filters can be effective and inexpensive air filtering solutions. They commonly cost about $5 per filter and have up to a 13 MERV rating. This means that, in addition to everything the lower-rated filters can remove, they capture particles the size of bacteria. Not all pleated filters have this efficiency; for a 10 to 13 MERV rating, the filter needs at least 18 pleats per foot. Choose a polyester filter to lower the risks of mold in humid weather.

  • High-efficiency pleated. These filters take air quality a step further, increasing the filter depth to 4 or 5 inches. The increased layers and surface area improve the filter to between a 14 and 16 MERV rating.

  • HEPA. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are highly effective at removing particles the size of viruses and pathogens. For this reason, they are often used in hospital settings. Only some home air purifiers and HVAC systems are also compatible with HEPA. In many cases, the filter would put too much strain on your system.

How Often to Replace HVAC Filters

Most filters should be replaced every 3 to 6 months. However, this can vary depending on the type of filter. For instance, the lower the MERV rating, the more frequently you should replace your HVAC filters. With fewer layers, they fill with contaminants more quickly. Likewise, higher MERV-rated filters often last longer. But even if you install a permanent filter in your system, checking it every six months will give you a chance to spot damage or mold growth.

Improving Your Pompano Beach Air Quality

Choosing the right HVAC filter can improve air quality and keep the air fresh in your Pompano Beach home. If you need help selecting the right filter for your home, call us for experienced advice on all things HVAC, including air filters. At One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Pompano Beach, our technicians offer expert HVAC maintenance and repair. If you need a hand replacing your air filters or need other HVAC services, call (954) 379-8260 or request service online.