When it comes to air filters, there are many different options to choose from. Whether you’re looking to improve the air quality of your home or need an industrial filter for your company, it’s important to know what air filtration options you have and how different filters work to keep your air clean and healthy.
Listed below are six of the most common types of air filters and a summary of what they do and how they work. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each filter type:
1. Pleated Filters
Pleated filters are typically made of cotton and polyester and have a folded, accordion-like design that helps capture small particles like dust and dander. The pleats create a larger surface area, allowing this type of filter to capture a higher amount of particles from the air. Pleated filters are a cost-effective option compared to some other types of filters and come in disposable and reusable types. One downside of pleated filters is they pull air through an HVAC system, making it work harder and less efficiently.
2. HEPA Filters
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are able to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. The performance of HEPA filters is measured by the MERV rating system. On a scale of 1 to 20, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles a filter can capture. People who have allergies or other respiratory issues may particularly benefit from using a HEPA filter.
3. Fiberglass Filters
Another cost-effective option is fiberglass filters. Also called spun glass filters, they work well for capturing larger particles in the air such as dirt and dust. If you have allergies, fiberglass filters might not be the best option, since they don’t work as well at capturing very fine particles.
4. UV Filters
UV filters are commonly used in healthcare settings because of their ability to remove harmful airborne microbe . By using a short-wave ultraviolet light bulb, these filters help eliminate bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. UV filters are not, however, good at capturing larger particles such as dust and dander. These types are filters are often paired with another filter, such as HEPA filters, to maximize performance.
5. Electrostatic Filters
Electrostatic filters are an affordable option, as they can be reused over and over again instead of buying new filters. Made of cotton and paper fibers, electrostatic filters create an electric charge that attracts small particles, helping capture them more effectively as they move through the filter.
6. Washable Filters
The initial cost of a washable air filter can be high when compared to other filters types. However, they can last much longer than disposable filters and help reduce waste, making them an earth-friendly, sustainable option. Washable filters tend to have a lower MERV rating, though, as they aren’t able to capture as many tiny particles as some other types of filters.
To help choose the right type of filter for your individual needs, be sure to consider the MERV rating, efficiency, cost, and the specific type of air filtration you’re looking for (for example, dust and dander vs. bacteria and viruses). If using an environmentally friendly option is important to you, a washable or reusable filter can reduce waste while still providing protection from harmful air particles.