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Do Home Air Filter Systems Make a Difference?

Pollutants, such as smells, smoke, dust, and pet dander are everywhere in your home. Indoor air may contain up to five times the amount of contaminants found in outside air. Home air filters may be able to target unhealthy air that seeps into your house, which is particularly useful if you live in a region prone to pollution or natural disasters. Indeed, air filters help mitigate some of the dangers presented by air pollution. However, not all air filters live up to their marketing promise. Therefore, you should seek help from an HVAC company like UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing! We want to take some time to go over the different types of air filters that you may use with your HVAC system.

Woman blowing her nose into a tissue

Indoor air quality is critical for every homeowner, much more so if members of your family suffer from respiratory ailments. Proper HVAC filters may mean the difference between stifling, polluted air, and healthy, easy-to-breathe air. Understanding the many kinds of air filters available for residential use is the first step toward achieving the better indoor air quality you deserve. Having experienced HVAC contractors like us on your side can help you decide what is right for you.

Flat Panel Filters

As the name suggests, these filters consist of flat panels composed of a fibrous substance, such as fiberglass, polyester, or another synthetic material that is framed in cardboard. While they are the most affordable filters available, they are also the least efficient. They're intended to keep larger material particles out of your HVAC systems, such as dirt, pollen, pet hair, and lint. However, since they have a limited surface area for particle trapping, they cannot capture the smaller pollutant particles that pose a danger to your health. The 1-inch disposable fiberglass filters that come standard with the majority of residential heating and cooling systems are among the least efficient flat-panel filters. Flat-panel filters constructed of synthetic material are somewhat more efficient.

Filters with Pleated Surfaces

A pleated filter's surface is curved in an accordion-like design to accommodate a surface that can trap more particles without increasing the filter's thickness. Typically, these filters are composed of synthetic fibers or a cotton-polyester mix. Their increased surface area and density enable them to capture microscopic particles you may inhale. These include mold spores, as well as tiny pollen and pet dander particles that less effective filters miss. Pleated filters, like flat panel filters, are disposable, but they last longer than flat panel filters.

Washable Filters

These filters seem to be a decent concept at first look. After all, they save you money by reducing the frequency with which you purchase new filters, and since you'll be discarding fewer filters, washable filters should be the more environmentally responsible option. In fact, these filters are often only available in low-efficiency configurations, which means they accumulate dirt quickly. Even if you wash them frequently, they are likely to acquire germs and mildew, necessitating their disposal. Therefore, many HVAC contractors do not consider them a good option!

High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters (HEPA)

To qualify as a genuine HEPA filter, an air filter must be capable of capturing 99.97 percent of passing particles with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers or more. This includes the smallest particles of contamination, such as smoke particles, as well as many viruses and bacteria. Although filters branded "HEPA-like" are often very effective, they are not genuine HEPA filters. Given the amount of advertising for these filters, it's natural to think they're the greatest option for maintaining clean air. However, this is not true for all HVAC systems. HEPA filters are effective because of their high density. Along with capturing particles, the thick filter material slows airflow. Because the fan motor in the majority of home HVAC systems is not powerful to compensate for this delay, a HEPA filter could harm the motor. A portable air cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter is the simplest way to improve the air quality in a single room.

Consider the Maintenance Requirements for Your Filter

Examining the manufacturer's suggested filter replacement schedule is another aspect of selecting the appropriate air filter. This is usually specified on the filter's box, with recommendations made depending on the filter's characteristics and the circumstances in your house.

How often you'll need to replace your filter is determined by a variety of variables, including the following:

  • Filter type
  • The efficiency of the filter
  • How often do you operate the air conditioner or furnace?
  • The air quality in your house
  • The number of individuals that live in your house
  • The number of pets you own

We hope this has been helpful so that you can make an informed and educated decision when choosing an air filter. UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help you with all of your HVAC needs and has a host of services we offer to homeowners in Whitehall, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading. Contact us today to see how we can serve you!

We hope this has been helpful so that you can make an informed and educated decision when choosing an air filter. UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help you with all of your HVAC needs and has a host of services we offer to homeowners in Whitehall, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading. Contact us today to see how we can serve you!