Which HVAC Filter Should I Use?
Basic Air Filter
This type of filter is generally made to protect your HVAC equipment from getting dirty too fast. Coming in various colors like blue, white and green this filter will stop dust and dirt and large things from getting swallowed up by your HVAC system. If you hold this style up to a light you can generally see through them (less so at better quality). These filters are generally thrown away after a month of use. Filters mounted in the ceiling will last longer than a filter mounted in the wall near the floor. Tile or wood floors can let dirt slide more easily to the filter than a carpeted floor. Household pets can also limit the life of your air filter. The biggest factor in air filter life is the amount of time your AC system runs, so in Florida a filter expires fast.
Pleated Air Filter
1″ pleated air filters can be nightmare for homeowners. These filters are available everywhere as an expensive “preimum” filter. Many of these filters list a 3 month life on them and they won’t last that long in a florida summer. If you install this filter then watch it as your system runs, if the filter bows extremely as the air tries to flow through it, the recommendation would be not to use them at all. And when it comes time to change this filter, it will usually be extremely bowed. As these filter catch dirt, the filter flows less and less air. As the airflow to your HVAC system gets limited, it will struggle to keep your home cool on a hot day. Advanced Cooling has had many service calls where this style filter is causing an HVAC system to not be able to keep a home down to the desired temperature in a hot Florida afternoon. The good from clean breathing air this filter makes is offset by the filter limiting airflow and making less cold air.
Media Air Filter
Coming in the 4″ or 5″ varieties, this filter has a massive square inch of surface area for air to flow through. These filters can last 6 months or even a year. Every home is different, so frequent checks should be made until a determination is made on how long the filter can last for your home. This filter is the best choice for complete filtration and ease of maintenance. If you schedule bi-yearly or yearly HVAC tuneup maintenance you can have your AC company include a filter change for complete piece of mind.