Are Cheap Furnace Filters Really Better?

When it comes to furnace filters, the general rule of thumb for many HVAC professionals is “the cheaper the better”. But is this really the case? It all depends on your unit, your home and the filter itself. Cheaper filters may be more cost-effective in the short-term, but they may not be better for you in the long run. Woven fiberglass filters are cheaper, but they don't do much to remove dirt and debris that could damage your furnace blower motor, while also removing some of the pollen and mold spores.

These filters can cost more, but you don't have to buy them as often as filters that need to be changed monthly. Pleated air filters used to be the cause of many HVAC breakdowns, because the system engine would have to work harder than it could handle to draw the air it needed through the hermetically wound filter. However, with recent innovations, pleated filters are now much more efficient and reliable. For reference, a pleated filter of only a MERV 8 rating filters at least 75% of particles between 3 and 10 microns.

Fiberglass filters are at the farthest end of that spectrum, providing near maximum airflow at a trade-off that delivers near zero filter efficiency. HVAC systems are not designed to improve air quality in the home, and filters are important to keep the furnace and air conditioner working properly. An effective air filter combines filtering efficiency with airflow to create a product that is effective at removing particles from the air, but that does not create unnecessary demand on your HVAC engine by blocking the passage of air. A clogged furnace air filter will decrease airflow and comfort, even shut down your HVAC system and damage expensive parts.

So while fiberglass filters may be cheaper in the short-term, they can end up costing you much more in the long run than the additional six dollars every three months to buy a pleated filter. If you have questions about your air filter or other HVAC related questions, please contact us at E Dennis Air Conditioning & Heating. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and service the entire Northwest Atlanta metropolitan area. Get in touch with one of our specialists today.

Marla Cloonan
Marla Cloonan

Devoted web guru. Professional internet maven. Typical social media specialist. Wannabe social media lover. Certified food aficionado. Incurable bacon enthusiast.

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