How to Choose the Right Furnace Filter

In an age of smart thermostats, zoned temperature control, and high-efficiency furnaces, the humble filter is given short shrift. But make no mistake, the air filter is a powerful player in the performance of your HVAC system and indoor air quality. So give the filter its due consideration and choose your next replacement wisely.

Here’s a rundown of the different types of filters on the market so you can pick the best one for your home and budget. Note: Each will include a MERV rating. That’s the minimum efficiency rating value. It ranges from 1 to 20. The more efficient the filter is at trapping particles, the higher its MERV.

The Different Types of Furnace Filters

Disposable fiberglass: (MERV: 2 to 3. Cost: $2 or less) Cheap, marginally effective, these replacement filters comprise of 1-inch-thick spun fiberglass. Their primary function is to prevent dust and debris from gumming up the works inside your HVAC system. They won’t much improve your indoor air quality.

Disposable pleated: (MERV: 6. Cost: $4-5) The cotton paper or polyester in this filter catches smaller particles such as spores and mites. And because it’s pleated like an accordion, the material has a larger surface area to trap more stuff. That means you might be able to go longer between replacements.

Electrostatic: (MERV: 8. Cost: $50 and up) Yes, pricey, but you’ll never need to replace it. That’s because you can wash an electrostatic filter. This filter uses static electricity to attract airborne contaminants. For allergy sufferers, this may bring you relief.

High-efficiency pleated: (MERV: 14-16. Cost: $100) Unless you live in a hospital, this option is likely overkill. Your HVAC system will have to work harder to push air through the deep synthetic cotton. While your air will be nearly pristine, your central air system will suffer.

Combine Your Furnace Filter with a UV Air Scrubber

The right air filter, in combination with an ultraviolet air scrubber, create cleaner, healthier air, eliminate odors, and reduce the number of times you need to dust your home. Our heating experts can recommend solutions to improve your indoor air quality. To schedule an appointment with Tom’s Mechanical, call 972-388-3669.