You’ve probably heard that you need to change your air filters regularly–at least every three months, and more frequently if you have pets or allergies. But with so many different kinds of filters, how do you know which is best for you and your home? There are three common types of air filters that you may use in your home HVAC system: fiberglass filters, polyester pleated filters, and HEPA filters. You may also see washable fabric filters, but these are much less common.

All filters are rated by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), which tells you a lot about a particular type of filter. The scale goes from 1-16, with higher numbers being more efficient.

pros and cons of air filtersFiberglass filters are very common, in part because they’re so inexpensive and light. They can be thrown away and are often sold in multipacks, which makes it easier to keep extras on hand. They are usually rated from 1-4 MERV.

Pleated paper or polyester filters are also disposable, and are usually rated 5-8 MERV. They are quite a bit more expensive than fiberglass filters, but also more efficient. Disposable filters are more hygienic than washable ones, as they remove all the dust from your home.

HEPA filters, otherwise known as high-efficiency particulate arrestance filters, are the top of the line HVAC filter. They are great for people with allergies! On the other hand, they restrict airflow quite a bit, cost more, and can only be used with HVAC units that are compatible (otherwise you risk damaging your unit).

The right type of filter for your needs will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and preferences. If you have questions, give us a call at JH Martin Mechanical. In addition to our HVAC installation and repair services, we have the know-how to help you make the best decisions for your home.