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It's not an exciting topic, but one that requires some attention. Selecting the right furnace filter for your home's HVAC system will result in optimal quality of air and budget. Furnace filters provide protection from harmful particles being circulated in your home - trapping the pollutants before you have a chance of breathing them in.
We will weight the pros and cons of 5 common filters and see how they rank in cost and efficiency on the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) scale.
Probably one of the most common filters due to their cost, the disposable fibreglass filter is constructed from 1” thick, spun fibreglass. Because of its porous design, it can only trap large particles like dust, lint and other large debris from clogging your HVAC system. Disposable fibreglass filters typically carry a MERV rating of 2-3 and cost about $2. The pros are low cost, and suitable for homeowners who do not suffer from allergies or asthma. The con is that it has very little effect on cleaning up your home's air quality.
One of the most popular filters used today, the disposable pleated filter is constructed from polyester or cotton media and has the ability to trap smaller particles like spores and mites. However, because this filter traps more, they can become clogged quicker - needing to be changed more often to avoid reduced air flow of your HVAC system. Disposable pleated filters typically carry a MERV rating of 6 and cost around $5. The pros are, relatively inexpensive, the ability to be made from environmentally responsible materials and their ability to trap small particles. The con is, with the ability to trap smaller particles, filters become clogged quicker and if left plugged, will result in reduced air flow - making your system more expensive to run.
The disposable electrostatic filters are designed to self-charge their cotton or paper fibres which helps attract small particles. These electrostatic filters typically carry a MERV rating of 10 and cost approx $10. The pros are, affordable for standard sizes, and good for homes with children, pets or smokers. The cons are they're expensive at custom sizes or if they need to be changed frequently.
Permanent electrostatic filters are similar to their disposable counterpart, but have the ability to remove and machine wash the inner filter. These permanent filters typically last from 6 to 8 years and carry a MERV rating of 8 - slightly lower than the electrostatic option and cost an average of $20. The pros are that the permanent option produces little waste, more effective and longer lasting than disposable pleated and are a good long-term option if you have a common sized HVAC system. The cons are that the permanent option is less effective than the disposable option and costly for custom sizes.
Probably one of the most effective filters you can get, the high-efficient pleated filters are made from 4-12 inch thick, pleated synthetic, high-loft glass or wet-laid glass media and attached to a metal grid to prevent leaks or fluttering. This option carries a MERV rating of 16 and typically cost around $100. The pros are their great ability to trap nearly all pollutants, and are a great option for homeowners with respiratory problems or autoimmune disorders. The cons are their high cost, averaging about $100 per year, and can only be installed by a professional due to their design.
Based on your home, health and budget needs, it is important to pick an option that fits your lifestyle. At 4 Seasons Heating, Cooling & Electrical, we carry a variety of disposable and electrostatic filters as well as Cimatech Essa electronic filters that remove over 85% of airbourne particles from your home. For more information about furnace filters, or to select an option right for you, call us at (204) 953-5700 or email our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org.