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Types Of Air Filters

May 18, 2023

People sometimes expect their home’s indoor air to be cleaner than the air outdoors, but the opposite is often true. It’s common for households in Rockville, MD and the surrounding communities to have poor indoor air quality due to traces of allergens and pollutants and, in some cases, higher concentrations of airborne contaminants than outside air. Poor indoor air quality is why it is important to install a quality air filter in Rockville.

An air filter is a vital component within your home’s HVAC system. In this blog, we share what you should know about your air conditioning or furnace filter and how to choose the best one for your residence.

Why Is Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality Important?

It’s possible for your home’s air to have more pollution than outdoors because of the contaminants circulating through the property. People engage in many daily, unassuming activities that contribute to poor indoor air quality, including:

  • Smoking
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning with chemical cleaners
  • Lighting scented candles
  • Painting

Indoor air can also contain particles from furniture and construction materials. Viruses, bacteria, and mold are also in indoor air at various concentration levels.

Exposure to these particles can trigger a broad range of health issues. Depending on the allergens and pollutants you inhale, you could develop allergy-like symptoms, like a runny nose, itchy eyes, cough, or headaches. However, prolonged exposure to harmful airborne particles can lead to respiratory illnesses, heart conditions, and asthma attacks. You can enjoy clean, fresh air and minimize your risk of getting sick or uncomfortable inside your home by using a quality air filter.

What Are the Benefits of Air Filters In Rockville, MD?

As your HVAC system circulates the air throughout your home, it pushes air through an air filter on the unit’s intake vent. As air goes through, the screen traps airborne particles to reduce the amount of allergens circulating around your house. Some of the particles filters can catch include:

  • Pet dander
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Lint
  • Smoke and smog
  • Pollen
  • Dirt

While air filters improve air quality, they also boost your household’s energy efficiency and comfort.

A dirty air filter won’t trap much debris, because the particles on the screen will restrict airflow from the HVAC system. As a result, the air conditioner or furnace will overwork itself to force air through the dirty pores. The overworked unit will then use extra energy to maintain the temperature on the thermostat despite the airflow restriction, leading to higher energy costs and reduced indoor comfort.

One of the primary maintenance tasks for heating and cooling units is air filter replacement. The longer you run the HVAC system with a dirty filter, the more likely it is to develop premature wear and tear. Many air conditioning and furnace problems are preventable if you change the filter regularly.

Homeowners should change their air filters at least once every three months. If you or someone in the household has asthma or another respiratory issue, like allergies, it may be best to replace the filter once a month for a cleaner environment.

What Are The Different Types Of Air Filters?

At Glenmont Heating and Air, we proudly offer various quality air filters in Potomac, MD and surrounding areas. Filters are available in several forms, with varying particle trapping abilities. Pleated and fiberglass filters are among the most common for Rockville residents, but they aren’t the only options.

Pleated Filters

Pleated air filters have folded polyester or cotton sheets within a cardboard frame. The material inside the frame has small pores to catch tiny particles to improve indoor air quality.

Since they can trap small particles, pleated air filters tend to be costly. Their small pores also create a higher airflow resistance, making it more difficult for HVAC units to push air through them.

Fiberglass Filters

A more affordable air filter option is the fiberglass variety. The screen has several fiberglass layers inside a metal grate and frame.

Unlike pleated filters, fiberglass air filters aren’t suitable for catching small particles. The screens can catch a little more than 15% of particles between 3.0 and 10.00 microns, like pollen and dust. They can improve your home’s indoor air quality, but not as efficiently as other screens.

HEPA Filters

High-efficiency particulate air filters are one of the best on the market. They remove over 99.95% of airborne contaminants, including smoke, dust, and bacteria.

HEPA filters are costly and unsuitable for some HVAC systems. Still, if you have an allergy or serious respiratory problem, it may be worth investing in an air purifier that takes HEPA filters for a healthy living environment.

Reusable Filters

A reusable or washable filter often looks like a fiberglass or pleated screen, but you can clean and reuse it. Though it costs more upfront to purchase a reusable air filter, it will save you money long-term because you won’t have to buy filters every 90 days.

Cleaning a washable filter is simple. Use a vacuum to remove dirt and rinse it to eliminate lingering impurities. You must let the screen dry fully before reinstalling it to prevent mold and bacteria from accumulating on the damp surface, which can reduce your home’s indoor air quality.

What Is the Importance Of A MERV Rating?

As you research different air filter types and brands, you’ll see they all carry a MERV rating. The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating is how the industry measures a filter’s ability to do its job.

The MERV rating scale goes from 1 to 20, with 20 being the most efficient. The higher the rating, the better the air filter will trap pollutants and allergens. For example, most fiberglass filters have a MERV of one to four. Pleated and HEPA filters have ratings of five to 13 and 17 or higher.

However, most homes should utilize air filters with 8-10 MERV. This rating will effectively catch particles and maintain good indoor air quality, while also keeping an efficient air conditioning and furnace system. Much like a clogged filter, high MERV filters have small filter pores and some HVAC units use more energy to push air through. We recommend leaving high MERV filters to necessary sterile buildings, such as hospitals.

Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality With Glenmont Air Conditioning & Heating.

Besides installing air filters in Rockville, MD, our top-rated and well-trained technicians offer superior indoor air quality solutions to all customers, like air purifiers, electronic air cleaners, and humidifiers.

Our skilled crew has over 35 years of experience providing the best heating, cooling, and ventilation services to the community, including 24/7 emergency HVAC repairs. Your satisfaction is our guarantee and top priority. Call (301) 468-2665 to request an appointment with Glenmont Air Conditioning & Heating today.

About The Author

Glenmont Air Conditioning & Heating

For over 35 years, Glenmont Air Conditioning & Heating has provided full-service HVAC repair, replacement, and maintenance in the Rockville, Maryland area. Contact us today to schedule service.