With your HVAC system drawing in and then distributed conditioned air throughout your home, particulates, pollen, smoke, debris, dust and dander are being distributed alongside it.
These free floating air pollutants can irritate the respiratory system, carry pathogens which cause illness and clog up your HVAC units as air is passed through them, resulting in more repair and maintenance work down the line.
To reduce the need to maintain and clean your AC coils or to replace your humidifiers water supply for example, some good air filters inserted into the ductwork of your home would do just the trick.
They’re usually constructed out of fibreglass and slot right into your ductwork but sometimes some alterations are needed to fit them in. There are also varieties that have a small electrical charge which attract particles to the pleats and holds on to them which are referred to as electrostatic.
The best air filters for your home depends entirely on whether they fit into your ductwork system, and also how extensive your system is. However, thicker filters are more expensive but they are much more effective and usually the better choice no matter the type of system you have.
#1 Filtrete MPR 2800 Ultrafine Particle Reduction
The Filtrete MPR filters are hands down the best filter for your home for many reasons. Filtrate have many different filters in their range which vary in quality and this product is their highest quality option.
These filters are designed to grab and pull in undesired particles from the air, allowing fresh, clean air to flow through.
These are made from electrostatically charged pleats and can extract and trap tiny particles of between 0.3 to 1.0 microns in the air, including PM 2.5 pollution, soot, lint, dust, soot, smoke, mucus, pollen and even microorganisms! The electric charge traps the particles and doesn’t let them go, it is extremely effective.
What’s also great about this product is there are multiple buying options that allow you to choose the correct sizing option for you. This may seem like an obvious benefit but you would be surprised that many similar products do not offer the same.
You get two filters to each purchase and given the price it may seem slightly expensive but given that these filters are so effective and last for up to three months its great value. Especially considering they are saving you from having to clean and even have a technician perform maintenance on your HVAC system.
#2 Filtrete MPR 1200 Odor Defense
Even though it’s not as effective as the MPR 2800 it’s still effective in its own right at limiting undesirable particles form travelling through your home ducting. It incorporates electrostatically charged fibres but also combines this with carbon which makes it able to trap gasses and odors.
This is great if you cook often and the smell tends to linger, if you have pets or a smoker in the household, it greatly eliminates the odors and prevents them from circumventing your home.
This filter also has variable buying options so that you can choose your size but you can also choose whether you want a 2, 4 or a 6 pack and since these are much more affordable than the MPR 2800 you can save a great deal on buying more and replacing existing ones.
#3 Honeywell Ultra Efficiency Air Cleaning Filter
Honeywell, the much respected brand in the HVAC industry have their very own air filters which are made out of propylene.
They are super effective at trapping all the particulate matter mentioned in this article before, as well as extra small particles and even microbes in the size range of 0.3 – 1.0 microns.
These filters are highly efficient at their job and are much thicker than standard filters that have 1 inch thickness. At a thickness of 4.5 inches the Honeywell filters work well to trap even more particulate matter and last much longer.
Unfortunately there isn’t options for choosing the dimensions you want the filter to be which is what lets it down. Even though this is a great option for its performance, make sure you are certain it will fit into your HVAC system before making a purchase.
#4 NaturalAire Odor Eliminator Air Filter
You receive a pack a four filters with each purchase, making it great for those who are on a budget and don’t want to spend too much on their air filters or who just want some cheap temporary replacements. Each one lasts for up to 3 months too which is great!
The downside to these filters is that they are not very high performance, with a MERV rating of 8, they are not going to be as effective as all of the above products but will still work well for reducing larger dust particles, pollen, mould and other allergens.
On the plus side, they incorporate baking soda into the air filters which act to fight odors passing through your ducting preventing them from permeating throughout your home.
Why Use Air Filters for Your Home?
As touched on in the introduction, air filters remove all the nasty things that float around in the air of your house which passes through your HVAC units as they condition the air. These undesired particulates such as dirt, dust and pollen can be hazardous to the HVAC system, clogging up coils meaning you’ll need to break out the AC coil cleaner more often.
Of course, if it gets really bad, you sometimes need to consult with your HVAC technician to do a full inspection and maintenance job. This can really add up to high costs in comparison to even the most expensive filters that can prevent or reduce your HVAC system becoming clogged up.
There are different types of harmful particles in the air, the smallest of which are the hardest to control. Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi are living organisms which can fit on the dust and particles that are moved around the home via your HVAC system and if elements of any unit become clogged, they become breeding grounds for these microbes.
They are then inhaled and can play havoc with your respiratory system. Using good filters can greatly reduce this meaning the air that’s passing through your HVAC system and your home is cleaner and clearer, so much so that you would actually feel the difference. Especially for those with allergies or sensitive respiratory systems.
What Makes a Good Air Filter?
Air filters can be a tricky product because they come in different sizes and you need to find the right size to fit the location you are going to be putting them. Most commonly they are slotted into the air return vents which lead into the ducts which deliver air to your HVAC units.
Other than choosing the correct size, they are easy to install as they simply slot into place. There are certain features and characteristics to be expected of your air filters though that determine how well they will perform and whether they are worth the money.
MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and effectively start at 6 but the most effective is at 14 or above. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter can pick up from the air. It goes like this:
MERV 6: Lint, Household Dust, Pollen
MERV 8: Lint, Household Dust, Pollen, Dust Mite Debris, Mould, Spores
MERV 11: Lint, Household Dust, Pollen, Dust Mite Debris, Mould, Spores, Pet Dander, Smoke, Smog, Mucus
MERV 14: Lint, Household Dust, Pollen, Dust Mite Debris, Mould, Spores, Pet Dander, Smoke, Smog, Mucus, Bacteria, Viruses
A filter which has an electrostatic charge does not mean you have to connect them to any power source to work. They already have this charge which attracts particles to them and holds them there which greatly increases this efficacy of the filter. These filter come at a higher cost but are altogether worth it due to having a greater performance.
Filters which are thicker are generally able to capture and hold more debris and particulate matter and therefor last longer before needing replacement. This does save you money in the long run but will of course need to fit into the slot.
When it comes to air filters, there is one dominant brand and that is Filtrete. They have a great range to suit the budget and the requirements for everyone. If you do have the budget though, their top product; the MPR 2800, is without a doubt, the top performing air filter on the market.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to comment below and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.