Buying new air filters for your furnace can be a challenge, there are so many different types of air filters to choose from.
From disposable fiberglass filters to an electric air cleaner or a HEPA filter which is most commonly used in hospitals or commercial buildings.
Air filters are rated by the size and amount of particles they can collect from the air going through your furnace.
They are rated on a scale from 1 to 11, the higher the number the better filter. The higher the rating the more expensive the filter is going to be.
Disposable fiberglass air filters
These are the least expensive route to go. If cost is your only concern these can usually be bought for a few dollars each or a package of 12 for around $20.
If someone in your home has health issues or allergies these may not be the best option for you as they are rated between 1 and 4, which means the performance isn't great.
Pleated Allergy Filters
Pleated filter are just as they are called… They have pleats in them which helps with collecting dust and other allergens in the air of your home. If you or someone in your home has allergies this type of filter will be a must have.
A little more expensive than the fiberglass filters ranging from $5-$20 but they are also rated higher at a 7-9 rating. You can also find HEPA pleated filters with a rating of 12 that may be suitable for your residential furnace but to be sure, check with the manufacturer of your system.
These filters are washable and reusable. These use an electric charge which makes the dust and other particles stick to the media.
These range from $50-$200 but they are permanent so they are very cost effective over time. You can hose them down, let them dry out and then put them back in place. Because these are not a dry filter there is not a rating on them like the other filters so you will have to check with the manufacturer on their performance.
However there are some pleated filters that carry electrostatic current so possibly getting the best of both worlds with electrostatic and pleated filtration.
Electronic Air Cleaners
The electronic air cleaners are integrated into the duct work to the furnace and air conditioning systems. These are great for people who have severe allergies or health problems. They are a little pricey as they run around $1500 installed but once they are installed you can maintain and replace the filters yourself.
Activated Carbon Filter
Activated carbon filters are used to help eliminate odors such as pets, smoke, or cooking smells. These work in conjunction with pleated filters and have their own rating of around 8.
If smells are an issue in your home you won’t mind spending the few extra dollars to help eliminate that problem.
Hopefully this helps you to understand the differences in furnace filters and you can make an educated decision on what would be the best filter for your home.
If your getting a home inspection they home inspector should be checking the filter. The inspector will also inspect the furnace. This is what we inspect.
Places to get these filters typically