Are higher rated air filters worth the extra cost? In general, the answer is yes. More expensive air filters are more effective, but the type of filter you need depends on your individual circumstances. For instance, a single person without pets and allergies may not need as much filtration as a family of five with three pets and a child with asthma. Additionally, you should consider how long your air filter will last.
Washable air filters are more expensive, but they can last for years instead of months. However, they have some drawbacks, such as lower MERV ratings, frequent maintenance requirements, and the potential to attract mold to your air unit. It's important to use only air filters with the MERV rating recommended by the HVAC system manufacturer. The average household benefits from having a filter that is rated high enough to block problems in the air, but not so high as to cause airflow complications. If you have an unusually sized filter area, some online companies offer custom filters for those unique systems.
FilterBuy offers more expensive air filters because of their quality and convenience. Most homeowners should choose a filter with a MERV rating between 4 and 11. This is high enough to prevent a good amount of particles from entering their system and home, but low enough to not force their HVAC system to overwork and increase energy bills. During a wildfire, you'll need to change filters more often than under normal air conditions. There are some indicators that can help you know when it's time to replace one. This results in a cleaner, longer-running HVAC system that needs fewer repairs and better air quality in your home. When comparing the cost of a pleated filter with a non-pleated filter, you have to triple the price per filter of the non-pleated filter to get an accurate comparison.
This is especially true in homes with older HVAC units that weren't built to accommodate thicker air filters. Compared to cheaper basic filters, medium-efficiency MERV filters such as the Nordic Pure MERV 12 can greatly reduce airborne dust, mold spores, pollen and even smoke. This can help alleviate respiratory ailments according to an NIH review. Pleated filters also don't need to be changed as often - just once every 3 months compared to once a month for non-pleated filters. To reduce costs and get what you need, it's important to go to the store knowing what size air filter you need for your system.
Newer filters allow air to pass through them with the minimum required airflow which avoids additional billing over time. Airflow in your home is the direct path that air follows through a duct system and filters to enter multiple rooms.