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Top Of The Best Furnace Filters Reviewed In 2018Last Updated March 1, 2019
№1 – 16″ X 20″ X 1″ MERV 8 Pleated Furnace Filter, 6-Pack
№2 – FilterBuy AFB Silver 20x20x1 MERV 8 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter – Pack of 4 – 20x20x1
№3 – Filtrete Clean Living Basic Dust AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 300, 16 x 25 x 1-Inches, 6-Pack
Your filters’ efficiency heavily relies on its MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). ‘The higher, the better,’ the same applies to this value as it ranges from to 1With larger rates comes more entrapment of unwanted and harmful air particles.
However, with a filter that is higher ranked, the furnace is forced to work harder because of the hindrance due to less air flow via it. So when you’re choosing your best air filter for your home furnace, one with high efficiency, a rating of between and 1is adequate.
Your filter size is dictated and should correlate with the size indicated in your furnace manual. Dimensions are highlighted about the thickness (commonly inch), height and length. Typical sizes as with the ones reviewed above include 14’’x25’’, 10’’x10’’ etc.
If I only knew then what I know now!…
Not only can home air filtration be a matter of life and death for those who suffer from a multitude of respiratory conditions, but even those considered normal and healthy can benefit from cleaner, dust-free, and allergen-free air.
By removing pollutants from the air (both chemical and environmental ones), your family will be able to breathe cleaner air on a daily basis and your electricity bills will be lower too — because your HVAC unit won’t have to work so hard.
Here’s everything you need to know about home air filtration, plus tips for choosing the best air filters…
Home Air Filter Ratings
Mechanical air filters are the most common type of home air filters used in residential HVAC systems.
These filters use synthetic fibers to trap small particles, debris, and dust, among other things — preventing those things from circulating in the air and getting into our lungs.
The effectiveness of a mechanical air filter is measured in MERV ratings (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). Generally speaking, the cheaper the filter is, the lower the MERV number is. In other words, you get what you pay for. Air filters with lower MERV ratings need to be replaced more frequently.
Mechanical air filters remove dust by capturing it on the filter medium, the material that makes up the filter element. A mechanical air filter is any type of dry media filter. All of the throwaway air filters used in HVAC systems and Air Handlers are mechanical air filters. Any man made or natural fiber filter is a mechanical air filter. This includes HEPA air filters as well. Source
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Select a Filter That Meets Your Needs
Fiberglass filters are the least expensive types of filters and are generally just a thin panel of woven material. They are often used in rental facilities and are available with MERV ratings between one and four, meaning they only remove the largest of airborne particles. Designed solely for the interior components of your air conditioner, these filters are generally not recommended as they will not improve IAQ and may not provide adequate equipment protection. Pleated filters are the next step up from thin fiberglass, providing a MERV rating between six and eight while still being quite affordable. The smaller pore sizes and greater surface area of these filters will help improve IAQ by removing a greater percentage of allergens, dust, dirt, lint, etc. In households without pets or respiratory sufferers, these filters are often the preferred choice as they offer adequate equipment protection while maintaining IAQ at a reasonable level.
Electrostatic filters carry an electrical charge that attracts airborne particulates, allowing them to capture and remove a much greater percentage of contaminants. Typically rated with a MERV value around 10, these filters are excellent in households with pets, smokers, or sensitive individuals that require a higher level of IAQ.
Permanent electrostatic filters offer many of the same advantages of disposable versions but can last up to eight years with regular cleaning, making them a very economical option. Their MERV ratings are often in the eight to range.
High efficiency pleated filters are available with MERV ratings up to 16, although 1is generally considered sufficient even in households with highly sensitive people. These filters will remove a large percentage of bacteria and some viruses from the air; those with ratings between 1and 1are even useful in hospital settings. Above MERV 13, air filters tend to restrict airflow within the system and can actually increase energy usage, meaning they are not ideally suited for household use.
Where is My Air Filter? How to Size and How to Replace?
Panel Air Filters
Panel air filters can be made of a variety of materials, including fiberglass and synthetic fibers. They are the traditional disposable air filters found in many home HVAC systems. They are 1-inches thick and designed to protect your heater and air conditioner by removing larger dust particles from your home’s air. However, they are not capable of improving your indoor air quality by removing airborne pollutants that cause health problems
Electrostatic Air Filters
Electrostatic air filters consist of electronically charged fibers that are designed to “magnetically” draw air pollutants out of the air. Many electrostatic air filters are washable and can last for years if used correctly. However, there are numerous different designs available, and they are not all equally effective.
Pros: Long lifespan, less waste, more efficient than traditional panel filters
Cons: Must be regularly cleaned and maintained, wide variety of designs with vastly differing efficiencies.
Electronic Air Filters
Electronic air filters are different from electrostatic air filters in that they require electricity to operate. Electronic air filters are installed in your home’s existing HVAC system and use electronic charges to collect and remove even very small airborne particles. However, not all are created equal. Some electronic air filters have been shown to emit ozone, which can be harmful. We recommend the Bioguard Powered Filter because it has no ozone emissions.
Pros: Very efficient at removing small particles, lasts for many years, very little restriction to airflow, good for allergy and asthma sufferers
Cons: Higher initial cost, best if used in conjunction with panel or other filter.
Armed with this useful information, it will be easier to decide on and find the air filter that fits your needs and HVAC system.
Choose the Right-sized Filter
Check your furnace manual for the correct sized filter, or check the existing filter to determine dimensions. Most filters have the size prominently displayed on the surface in numerous places. You can also use a tape measure to determine size, if needed.
Understand Filter MERV Ratings
A furnace filter’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a measurement of how well it filters out particles in the air, how efficiently air flows through it and how long the filter should last. The MERV scale rates filters on a scale of to 1The higher the value, the more particles are removed. However, a high MERV rating doesn’t automatically mean a filter is better for your HVAC system. Most residential systems use filters with a MERV value of to 12, generally, to remove the most particles but allow for efficient airflow. Filters with a MERV value any higher than 1are usually used in commercial applications, such as laboratories and hospitals. Check your furnace manual to determine what the highest MERV-rated filter is that allows for maximum airflow in your system.
Here are some MERV ratings for the most commonly used types of filters:
Cost and Maintenance
The best part is the filter only needs to be replaced once every three to five years because the HEPA filter can be vacuumed. Furthermore, the 50250-S comes with an electronic filter indicator that tells you exactly when the filter needs to be changed.
Since many people do not need an air purifier for odor removal then the carbon filter will not need to be replaced every three months. This will end up with massive savings in the long run that others do not offer.
The downfall of this model is that the carbon filter is recommended to be replaced once every months which is very inconvenient. In addition, the design is absolutely hideous. It may do the job but I still really appreciate aesthetics in the household.
What to look for and avoid in an Air Purifier
What one should look for in an air purifier is the filter and how many square feet they cover. The best way to get a close estimation of how much square feet a unit covers is by multiplying CADR by 1.For example, the Honeywell HPA300 has a CADR of 300. To get a rough estimation of how much square feet it covers, multiply 300 by 1.to get the total of 450 Square Feet. This varies between companies and types of air purifiers.
An air purifier that uses Ozone to clean the air may cause irritation to the lungs which can cause problems to people with lung complications. However, most come with both a filter and ozone cleaning so it may be hard to avoid. Luckily, the UV-C or ozone cleaning feature can be turned on and off.
Duct-based whole house air purifiers
Duct-based whole house air purifiers are a significantly more expensive solution when compared to replacement filter based whole house air purifiers. These solutions essentially replace a section of your ductwork, generally in the return air path area before the air reaches the HVAC air handler unit and in place of the ductwork are installed filters. Filtration is done at this level within the ductwork and some of the more expensive variations utilize HEPA filters. For systems that utilize HEPA filters, the blower of the existing HVAC system can not take care of the additional pressure drop and has to be replaced with a more powerful blower.
Because these systems are still relying on filtration as their main air purifying method, you will still need to replace these duct-based air filters on a regular basis. Adding to the difficulty, because of their location (generally within crawl space of a home), these filters are much more difficult to replace vs. replacement filter systems mentioned above. Examples of such systems include the IQAir Perfect 1or the PureAir systems. These systems cost thousands and will require professional installation.
Non-bypass config in the return air path of a ductwork. These whole-house HEPA air purifier systems are installed at the main point of where return air ductwork is located, just before the air enters the heating and cooling system of your home. Because HEPA can restrict airflow to an HVAC unit (reducing the effectiveness of their primary function of cooling and heating), these type of non-bypass systems often come with their own blowers to further induce air to your HVAC unit.
Non-bypass config in the supply air path of a ductwork. Instead of being installed in the return air path (of where air is being pulled into a system), these type of whole-house air purifier systems are installed in the air supply path of the ductwork (where air is being pushed out of a system). See diagram below for reference.
Diagram 3: Bypass config of a duct-based air purifier system
Diagram 4: Supply air config of a duct-based air purifier system
Negatives of a duct-based whole house air purifier system:
Bypass config still lets in unfiltered air. Many duct-based systems are installed in a bypass configuration into your HVAC unit (see diagram above). They are installed this way in order to not impede airflow to your cooling and heating system, but because there will be unfiltered portions in a bypass configuration, this negates the point of a whole house air purifier system since partial, unfiltered air is still being taken to your HVAC system to be distributed to the rest of your home.
Mold and algae can grow in the duct. With high enough humidity levels, mold and algae can grow within a duct-base system. These filter based systems cannot take care of the pollutants being generated in the part of the duct that comes after the filter.
Does not work well with multiple zone systems. Modern homes with two and three zone ductwork systems may not work well with these duct-based whole house air purifier system unless you install separate whole house system for each zone which would become prohibitively expensive.
Whole house air purifier system vs portable room air purifier units
Beyond the points listed above for each type of whole house air purifier system, you should also consider the negative aspects of a whole house air purifier system when compared to a portable air purifier unit.
FilterBuy AFB MERV 14x14xPleated AC Furnace Air Filter, (Pack of Filters), 14x14x- Silver – The AFB Silver MERV furnace / air filter is the most commonly purchased replacement filter by FilterBuy. The AFB Silver filters pollen, mold, dust mites, and other particles that are up to the size of pudding mix that you might buy at the grocery store. We recommend the AFB Silver Merv filte…
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Furnace Filters wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Furnace Filters
- №1 — 16″ X 20″ X 1″ MERV 8 Pleated Furnace Filter, 6-Pack
- №2 — FilterBuy AFB Silver 20x20x1 MERV 8 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter – Pack of 4 – 20x20x1
- №3 — Filtrete Clean Living Basic Dust AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 300, 16 x 25 x 1-Inches, 6-Pack