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Keeping the air filter in your home's HVAC system changed out regularly is an important part of your home's maintenance. A dirty air filter can cause poor air quality in your home, which can lead to breathing issues in your family. If you or a member of your family has asthma or other respiratory disease, you know the importance of keeping healthy air quality in your home. Changing your air filter on a regular basis is really not that difficult and doesn't need to be expensive. Air filters range from the economical cardboard frame filters all the way to expensive smart filters and everything in between. Determining what works for you is up to you. Following is a list of some different kinds of air filters and the range you can expect to pay. As always, check with your HVAC system's manufacturer to figure out what works with your system. If you no longer have any of the documentation that came with your unit, chances are you can look up the model # of your unit online and find some documentation or a video that will help you out. Of course, you can also call Peter Needham for assistance.
Fiberglass - probably the most economical - good at keeping out large particles from your HVAC system, but not so much when it comes to smaller particles. Can be found for under $10.
Pleated - made of cotton or polyester material - better than the fiberglass filters at filtering out smaller particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander and mold. Can be found for under $10.
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) - much better than either the fiberglass or pleated air filters and can filter out almost 100% of small particles out of the air such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mold and other particles. HEPA is probably what you want to use if you have respiratory issues in your family. Expect to pay $20 on up.
Smart filters - The sensor on Smart Air Filters tracks air filter life by detecting changes in air pressure over time. The filter can connect via bluetooth to your phone using an app, and alert you when the filter needs to be changed. Filtrete makes some of these air filters from Electrostatically charged filter media and claims they can trap lint, dust, dust mites, debris, mold spores, pollen, dander, smoke, smog, cough and sneeze particles and more. Depending on the size you need, these run for about $55 - $65 for a 2 pack on Amazon.
So you see that there are many options for air filters for your HVAC system. The biggest thing you need to do is to determine the size you need and the degree of air quality you need. Personally, I would use a HEPA filter and make sure you change it every 6 months. The smart filter sounds convenient and high tech, but keep in mind that it only connects via bluetooth and not via your wifi, so if your HVAC system is in the basement, the connectivity may be iffy. The fiberglass may be more economical and it is better than nothing, but it is not going to do the best job and providing the optimal air quality if that is what you want. The pleated air filter, in my opinion, comes in 2nd to the HEPA filter.
As always, call Peter Needham Electrical and HVAC for all of your electrical and HVAC needs. 781.396.4800