Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning filters or as more commonly termed as HVAC filters. The primary purpose of these filters is to protect HVAC systems from damage, increase HVAC systems’ efficacy, and improve the interior air quality. These filters preserve the HVAC systems from dust, dirt, airborne particles present in the air. HVAC systems are responsible for regulating heat, airflow, ventilation, and air conditioning of the entire premises they installed in. They are mostly used in industrial, commercial, residential, and institutional buildings and are designed to control the environment in which it works. HVAC controls the temperature and humidity level and distribution of air inside the rooms.
The Function of the HVAC Filter
The HVAC unit filter is a crucial component of the HVAC system as they maintain the interior air’s heating and cooling systems. The air filters are usually made from spun fiberglass material or from pleated paper/cloth, enclosed in the cardboard frame, made into different sizes to fit into the various HVAC systems. The air filters may not seem elaborate, but they considerably affect the HVAC unit’s performance. They play a huge role in providing indoor comfort and have a significant impact on HVAC equipment.
The filters’ primary function is to clean the air that circulates through the heating and cooling systems. The air filters trap and hold different kinds of particles that contaminants in the air like pollen, hair and animal fur, dust and dirt, fibers or wood particles, etc. Air filtration occurs when the expended or disbursed air is sucked back into the HVAC system. The sucked air is forced through the filter. The fiberglass or the cloth traps the harmful particles and contaminants. HVAC filters also prove beneficial in removing odors and gaseous pollutants and act as a silencer in HVAC units. Some of the HVAC filter systems are designed with a filter at the air exhaust, which prevents pollutants from being blown back into the interior environment.
How to Choose HVAC System
While selecting a filter for your HVAC system, some of the points that one would require to take into consideration would be:
Size & Usability
Primary consideration while choosing a filter for the HVAC system is used for residential or commercial HVAC filters or industrial applications. There are different variants of filters that are available in the market. Different variants include fiberglass air filters, pleated air filters, and HEPA air filters. HEPA air filters are the most effective filters and are more beneficial for those having allergies and respiratory issues. Consider the size and different specifications such as 16-3/8×21-1/2×1 air filter and 20x25x2 air filter that will fit the best heating & to your heating and cooling requirements.
The first step in determining the best type of HVAC filter needed is to identify the types and sizes of particulate pollutants in the building. Identify the airborne contaminants such as pollens, pet dander, mites, dust, etc., and then select the filter based on its efficiency. Filtration efficiency defines how well the filter cleans indoor air by removing airborne particles.
The filter’s MERV rating mainly indicates the air filter efficiency. MERV is the acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The numeric value represents the filter rating and helps in comparing the filter’s efficiency and performance. The MERV range is typically from 1 to 16. The numeric value indicates how well the filter will remove material from the air. The higher the MERV value, the better the filtration.
MERV 1-4: These are the common standard filters, which provide basic filtration at a low cost.
MERV 6-8: These filters are made of cloth or made with pleated paper, provide good filtration, and are typically used for residential purposes.
MERV 9-12: MERV with 9 to 12 numeric values are mid-range filters with relatively higher efficiency, and they can trap particles of 1 micron or larger. People having pet allergies can opt for MERV 9-12.
MERV 13-16: MERV 13 – 16 filters are of the highest efficiency and trap molecule particles as small as 0.3 microns or larger. These are best suitable for people with respiratory allergies.
How much airflow is restricted? Customers should avoid higher-rated filters with more than 16 MERV, MPR, or FPR numbers, as they are thick and dense, and this makes the HVAC system work harder to circulate air and increase energy costs for homeowners. Hence, one should consider the pressure drop factors and select the filters that match the given HVAC system’s features and capabilities.
How much will the filter hold, and how long will it last? All the air circulating through your HVAC system to heat or cool the interiors eventually passes through the air filter. At this stage, it’s crucial to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Conduct air filter inspections at least once a month. When found to be dirty or discolored, change them out with a fresh, clean air filter. The air filters should be replaced when required as they can cause damage to the HVAC system, reduce airflow inside the HVAC system that makes the fan work harder and wear out quicker, causes contaminates to build up, and increases the energy usage and monthly electric bill payments.
While one needs to replace the 1-inch fiberglass filters once a month, wider high-end filters perform effectively. The high-end filters can be easily washed, are suitable for continuous use, and do not require frequent replacements. 4-inch filters with 11+ MERV ratings last around 6-12 months on normal environmental conditions. These filters require replacement on an annual basis and have a low maintenance cost.
When selecting the filter, ensure that you check your fit along with the MERV value. A filter that captures allergens such as lint, dust, mites, mold spores, bacteria, pollen, and pet dander that provides clean indoor air should be the ideal pick.