While energy-efficient equipment is constantly touted as vitally important in reducing energy consumption, it’s not always clear-cut. For example, high-efficiency air filters can actually increase energy consumption in certain circumstances. In contrast, a standard air filter may be better suited for your HVAC system. So, if you’re trying to decide whether to buy a HEPA filter vs. traditional filters, here are five things to know.
1. What’s the Difference Between HEPA filters and Traditional Air Filters?
The two filters are constructed from entirely different fabrics. The standard traditionally used air filter uses lightweight porous material like cotton, paper, and polyester to capture airborne matter. These materials are formed into a pleated shape, and the greater the number of pleats, the more efficient the filter is.
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are built using glass fiber or other high-density synthetic compounds. HEPA filters can capture the finest particles down to the size of 0.3 microns — the equivalent of one-millionth of a meter. Now that’s tiny!
2. Which HVAC filter is More Expensive – HEPA or Standard?
You will pay more for a HEPA filter than a standard HVAC filter. This is due to two factors. One is that the filtering material within the frame is constructed to be denser than a standard air filter so that more particles can be caught. And secondly, the materials used to build the mesh cost more.
3. What are the Advantages of HEPA Filters?
You can expect higher air quality in your home when you use a HEPA filter. Constructed to capture airborne matter down to 0.3 microns, this type of filter catches more than 99% of airborne particles, including bacteria and viruses.
For family members or guests who suffer from allergens such as pollen particles and mold spores, the HEPA filter can make a marked difference to their health. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency highlights a number of severe health problems resulting from poor air quality in the home. Asthma, heart attacks, and premature death have been identified as some of the health risks that can be caused by low-quality air.
4. Are there any Advantages of Using Traditional HVAC Air Filters?
While traditional air filters effectively keep home air quality high, they aren’t capable of capturing the smallest airborne particles that a HEPA filter can. Since fewer particles are captured by a traditional filter, it doesn’t become as readily clogged as the HEPA type does. This means the standard filter doesn’t need changing as often as a HEPA filter may.
Another benefit of standard filters is that since they don’t congest as readily, they put less strain on the system. A clogged HEPA filter can put quite a load on HVAC equipment, raising energy consumption.
For your home heating and cooling equipment to run efficiently, both filter types should be regularly checked and replaced. One of the tasks performed by your local contractors during annual HVAC maintenance includes inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the air filters.
5. Can I Fit HEPA Filters Myself?
Whether you can fit a HEPA filter yourself depends on whether you can purchase one with the exact dimensions as your HVAC’s traditional filter. HEPA filters are commonly fitted into air conditioning units but are not as common for furnaces. If the dimensions of the HEPA filter are the same as the traditional HVAC filter, you should be able to install this yourself into the same filter slot.
Make sure you’re buying the right-sized filter for your HVAC system. If you want to double-check, you can always take an old traditional filter with you to the store and then compare it against the new HEPA part.
It’s best to discuss your concerns with a local HVAC company before you accidentally damage any equipment. If your system is not able to use HEPA filters, it may be possible to install an air purifier as part of your HVAC equipment.
Air Filters and HVAC Maintenance in Northern Virginia
Servicing Northern Virginia and nearby counties, Briggs HVAC is your local company for prompt expert maintenance of your HVAC equipment. If you have any queries on the best air filter to use in your system, we will happily research your requirements and advise you accordingly.
You don’t have to change the air filters yourself. Briggs HVAC will change these over for you at our next service call. If you think your filters will need to be replaced in between your HVAC maintenance services, just ask our friendly, professional technicians to show you how to do this at our next call.