So how do you know which air filter is right for you? Air filters are categorized into three different types based on their material and purpose: standard mechanical air filters, electronic air filters, and pleated air filters.
Mechanical air filters are the most common type of air filters used in homes. The purpose of this filter is to trap dust particles and other debris using synthetic fibers in order for the debris to stop circulating in the air. The disposable fiberglass air filters come in two sizes: one and two inch thick filters. You may need to change these filters often because of the adhesive coating and mesh that filters the air coming in usually gets damaged when cleaning.
The next type of air filter is the electronic air filter. This air filter is the most expensive and best quality air filter, so you get what you pay for. The electronic air filter does best at trapping debris and dust in the air; it even goes as far as trapping smaller molecules such as smoke, mold, and pet odors.
There are also two sizes that this air filter comes in, just like the fiberglass filter. This air filter also lasts longer than other air filters; electronic air filters are good for up to six months and it is usually packaged with a pre-filter that traps larger air particles.
The electronic air filter works by charging the air with static energy that attracts dust particles and other debris. In order to be marketed as “allergy free”, electronic air filters need to be changed every three months. The down side of this air filter is that it is said that to produce dangerous ozone substances due to the ionizing properties of these types of filters.
The last type of air filter is the pleated air filter. These air filters remove around 35 to 40% of the dust particles in the air. Although they are not as good as the electronic air filters, they are better than the mechanical air filters because they have more fiber per square inch compared to the disposable fiberglass filters. This is because if there is more fiber in the air filter, it is more effective in trapping dirty air particles.
Air filters are put into these categories because of their MERV ratings. If you are planning to buy an air filter, check for the MERV rating first.
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