HVAC filters keep your HVAC units running efficiently and even extend their life simply by removing air particles and impurities. There is no question how important it is to change your filters on a regular basis, but what type of filter do you choose?

Below we walk through the four types of air filters you can choose from and why you might not want to buy the cheapest option available.

Throughout this article, we talk about a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. This rating indicates how effective air filters are at trapping airborne particles. The higher the rating, the fewer particles can pass through the filter.

Flat-Paneled Fiberglass Filters

This is a very common low-cost air filter. These are disposable filters and have a low MERV rating—usually between 1 and 4—so you will have to change your filter more often and get your unit professionally cleaned from time to time as it is not made to filter out the smaller air particles. If you are trying to improve your indoor air quality, we do not recommend a flat-paneled fiberglass filter.


Reusable Air Filters

Reusable air filters are very similar to flat-paneled fiberglass filters with a MERV rating between 1 and 4. These filters are more expensive upfront but can be washed and reused. If you do not properly dry these filters, they can attract mold and mildew, so always make sure they are completely dry before reinstallation!


Pleated Media Filter

Pleated media filters usually have a MERV rating between 5 and 13 which meets the recommended MERV rating of many HVAC manufacturers. This rating means the filter can trap smaller particles, and because the surface is pleated, it has a larger surface area and will last longer than the flat-paneled fiberglass filter. Most HVAC manufacturers and contractors recommend pleated media filters as they tend to check the most boxes and are a fairly affordable option.


HEPA Filter

High Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filters have the highest MERV rating between 17 and 20. These filters can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns, which means it can filter out bacteria and even tobacco smoke. Though these filters have a high MERV rating, we recommend speaking with an HVAC contractor before buying one and installing it yourself. Installation is not always easy with these filters, and some units cannot work with a filter with this high of a MERV rating. Sticking with a MERV rating recommended by your HVAC manufacturer is best.

Always check what your HVAC manufacturer recommends for a filter MERV rating. Chances are this rating is between 5 and 12, so your best bet is a pleated media filter. If you have a much larger rating or a commercial building, we advise getting a professional opinion from an HVAC contractor.


If you are near us in Aurora or live anywhere in the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services would be happy to answer your questions or help you with an HVAC unit. Call 720-365-1187 or contact us online today!