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How To Find The Right Air Filters For Your Unit

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

One of the most common areas overlooked when maintaining a HVAC system is the air filter. This often happens when the unit sits unused for a long time and when it comes time to use it again, many people switch their units on without checking their filters. Even if you remember to replace the filter on your unit, you might be confused by all the different options that exist on the market. Below, we will look at what factors you should consider to find the right air filters for your unit.

The Size of the Filter

If you have never replaced your air filters yourself, you might not know the correct size of the filters used on your unit. The easiest way to find this information is to check the label on the existing filter or measure the old filter. Typically, most home air filters are one inch thick, but there are some units that use filters thicker than this. There are also height and width measurements to consider. As with the thickness, you can measure the air filter to find out what width and height you need.

Once you determine the size you need, you can find the right air filter on If you have several units all of different makes, all of which likely use filters of different sizes, FilterBuy has a wide range of filters to suit all of them so you don’t have to buy them all in different places.

MERV Ratings and Filter Efficiency

All air filters are manufactured differently and because of this, they clean the air with varying degrees of success and efficiency. The higher the quality of the filter, the better it will perform. Higher rated air filters capture more contaminants, dirt and dust even to the macro-particle level.

The efficiency of an air filter is rated according to MERV ratings. This is a scale of 16 levels and it is used to identify how well an air filter will do in the worst conditions.

Even if a higher rating will give you the best results, there is one thing to remember: if your unit can’t handle a high MERV rating, it will have to work harder to clean the air. This results in a higher electric bill. 

If your unit can handle it, select a filter with a MERV rating of 6-8. This rating provides the perfect balance between filter and energy efficiency. If anyone in your family or in the house has allergies, they would benefit from a unit that uses filters that have a much higher MERV rating. 

There are air filters that have a MERV rating over 16. These filters are dense and should not be used in residential units. If you are considering these filters, it would be a good idea to get a professional to check your unit to see if it is powerful enough to handle these filters.

Filter Materials

Air filters are made out of many different types of materials. These materials are priced differently and they provide varying levels of air filtration. 

HEPA Filters

You will likely not need a HEPA filter for your home, but they are used in situations where you want the air to be as clean as possible. These filters remove 99.97% of all particles in the air. Most of these filters are made of fiberglass which is arranged randomly, woven materials, and certain types of polymer plastics. HEPA filters are relatively expensive but they are worth it considering the air quality you get when you use them. Unfortunately, most residential air filters can’t handle the MERV rating of a HEPA filter because it wrecks the equipment.

Fiberglass Filters

These filters are made purely out of fiberglass and are cheaper than most other air filters. Their only downside is that they need to be replaced regularly, usually every 30 days. These filters are only good for capturing larger particles like lint and dust and are therefore not the best option for most homes.

Pleated Air Filters

These filters are one step above fiberglass filters; they are made with synthetic fibers and a wire backing. These filters are good for catching dust, pollen, bacteria, pet dander and mold, making them the perfect choice for most homes. They also last longer than fiberglass air filters.

Washable Air Filters

Washable air filters are an option for people who are concerned about cost and waste disposal. However, these filters can retain tiny particles of debris such as dust, pet dander, viruses and bacteria. They may also attract mold.

There are so many factors to consider when choosing the best air filter for your unit. Because of this, if you have a hard time finding the right air filter, call a professional to point you in the right direction.

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