How to Select the Best Air Filter for Your HVAC System
You can easily be overwhelmed by the huge variety of air filters on the market if you go shopping for one without a checklist to guide your selection. Avoid that dilemma by selecting a filter based on the considerations below.
The Contaminants You Wish to Eliminate
Air filters improve indoor air quality by removing different kinds of contaminants from the air in your home. The most common categories of contaminants are particulates (dust and pet dander, for example), microbes (like fungi and bacteria) and chemical vapors/odors (such as cigarette smoke). Different air filters have different abilities to deal with the different kinds of air contaminants so you should pick a filter based on its ability to address your particular concern. For instance, you may be interested in a filter that is rated highly for its ability to remove particulates if you suffer from allergies caused by contaminants like pollen. The filter will remove other contaminants too but it will do a better job concerning the ones you are most interested in getting rid of.
Another way to narrow down your choice of air filters is to consider the maintenance requirements of those filters. For instance, there are disposable filters that can be used for a few months before you discard them. There are permanent filters that need to be cleaned/washed periodically to remove the accumulated dirt or debris. Each type of filter has its pros and cons so you should examine both sides before you choose a filter. For instance, permanent filters last a long time (depending on the manufacturer) but they may increase your air conditioning maintenance costs since you may have to hire someone to clean them at the recommended intervals.
The Filter's Effect on the Efficiency of Your AC System
Filters introduce a source of resistance to air flow so the air conditioning system may have to use additional energy to force the air through that added barrier. That is why you need to choose a filter based on how it will affect your AC's efficiency. For instance, a low-efficiency filter puts the least strain on AC efficiency but it also has a minimal effect in improving indoor air quality. Medium efficiency filters exert a moderate strain on the AC system's airflow and are much better at removing contaminants. Choose an air filter that matches the efficiency of your HVAC system.
You may need the input of an expert (such as an HVAC technician from a company like Tozer Air Conditioning) to help you to choose the right filter since some of the parameters above are technical.