What are Air Filters for Home and How to Choose the Right One

An air cleaner is essentially a screen that fits in a compartment of the HVAC system to clean air as it circulates through a home.

Air filters

are an aftermarket product with a longevity that typically lasts 1 to 6 months for disposable filters and up to five years for washable air filters. People living with allergies or other respiratory problems may benefit most from HEPA filters. A contractor needs to adjust these filters to fit your specific HVAC system.

As the name suggests, UV filters use short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. When air passes through the HVAC unit, UV lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. UV filters are excellent for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health, including mold spores. However, a potential danger of UV filters is that they can transform oxygen into ozone, which can be hazardous to health.

Even low amounts of ozone can cause coughing and chest pain, while higher amounts of ozone can worsen existing respiratory diseases, such as asthma. While UV filters are great at removing bacteria and viruses, they aren't as efficient when it comes to protecting against contaminants such as dust. That's why they're often part of a larger filtration mechanism, including HEPA air filters. Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye and bulbs usually need to be changed every year, depending on the make and model of the HVAC system.

Using small cotton and paper fibers, electrostatic filters create static electricity that acts as a magnet for dust and other particles in the air. The magnetism is strong enough to prevent these particles from spreading throughout the house, making them one of the best options for those who need a filter that can combat allergens. An additional advantage for electrostatic filters is that they are available both disposable and reusable. When it's time to change the filters, you can decide whether to wash and reuse them or throw them away and buy new ones.

While certain types of air filters come with reusable and disposable options, washable filters are an eco-friendly way to save money. The starting price of this type of air filter for HVAC systems is high, but it should be considered as an investment that will last for many years. The starting price is likely all you'll have to pay, as you can simply wash and reuse the filter over and over again instead of buying a new one every few months. Washable filters need to be maintained well to ensure they work as they should.

As one of the main types of air filters, they come with maintenance instructions that must be followed. It is very important to ensure that the filter is completely dry before reattaching it. Even the slightest amount of moisture that remains can cause mold and mildew to form on the filter and expel them into the air you breathe. When it comes to air filters for HVAC systems, media filters can provide more benefits than standard filters with high MERV ratings.

Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a high MERV filter, but do so without the negative consequences of airflow or static pressure. In contrast, media filters have a larger surface area, which successfully avoids significant static pressure and provides better filtration. Media filters are very easy to maintain and ideal for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. Filtered dirt seals in the filter, preventing it from being ejected back into your home.

Media filters are also robust and cost-effective, so they need to be changed as infrequently as once or twice a year. In general, filters will be 1 inch thick for common systems and 5 inches thick for larger HVAC systems. The total filter size can range from a combination of height and length of 10 inches by 10 inches to 30 inches by 30 inches. One type that can be particularly difficult to find at the local store is the whole house air filter.

These are very different from the more common one-inch filters; you might have heard them called whole-house air purifiers, which is a misnomer. An air purifier is an addition to your HVAC system, not part of it; although air filters clean the air, they are part of your system and are not optional. Some air filters are hybrids that combine both methods, and some include activated carbon elements to combat malodor. In all filters, the “nominal size” of an air filter means the rounded size, where each dimension is rounded up or down to an integer.

Indoor air quality is a crucial element for any homeowner, especially if your household members have respiratory problems; choosing the right type of filter is essential for ensuring good quality air in your home environment. Throughout its promotional literature, Molekule used to claim that its PECO technology “completely destroys particles in the air”; however this has been proven false by tests conducted on their products which showed that their PECO technology was not as effective as claimed in removing particles from 0.3 microns in size from indoor environments.

Janette Tiotuico
Janette Tiotuico

Hipster-friendly pop culture enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble twitter trailblazer. Friendly music junkie. Wannabe food ninja. Typical internet fanatic.

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