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Which Air Filter is Right for My Home?

March 28th, 2024 | 4 min read

By Daphne Hunt

HVAC technician carrying a clean air filter with a blue safety helmet on.Navigating the world of air filters can often leave homeowners feeling lost and overwhelmed. With an array of types and sizes to choose from, it's no wonder many are left questioning how to select the right one for their HVAC system and home. Many, just like you, are left wondering when it's time to replace an air filter, how to recognize the signs of a filter's decreasing effectiveness, and understanding the consequences of choosing an incorrect filter type. These questions are fundamental in ensuring your home maintains clean air and your system operates at peak efficiency. 

Given the myriad of factors that influence an air filter's lifespan, including the type of filter, the home's environment, and the system's usage patterns, it’s impossible to give a uniform solution that meets everyone’s dynamic needs. 

But here's the good news: our expert technicians at A&E know what they’re doing. With over 16 years of experience in the HVAC industry, we've seen it all and solved it all.

How Often Should I Be Replacing My Home Air Filter and Why?

At its core, the need to replace an air filter hinges on its condition – specifically, whether it's dirty. FactorsA dirty air filter sitting on a wall next to a clean air filter, showing the importance of replacing air filters consistently. such as the presence of pets, the number of occupants, and how much the HVAC system runs all play a crucial role in determining how quickly a filter becomes clogged and needs replacing.

The lifespan and the replacement schedule of your air filter largely depends on its type and the material density, known as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles it can trap.

The 1" MERV 8 Filter

The 1-inch MERV 8 air filter ensures your heating and cooling units operate efficiently and serves as a common standard in many homes. This filter is designed for replacement every 30 days, though the exact timeline can adjust to fit the unique conditions of your living space. 

On average, the cost of these filters ranges from $5 to $15 each, making them an affordable option for regular maintenance. However, factors such as the brand, specific filter features, and where you purchase them can influence the price. Investing in these filters not only protects your HVAC system but also contributes to maintaining a healthier indoor air quality, underscoring their importance in home upkeep.

The 4-5" Pleated MERV 11-13 Filter

The 4-5" Pleated MERV 11-13 Filter is an excellent choice for homeowners aiming to enhance their indoor air quality with less frequent maintenance. Due to its increased surface area, it excels at capturing dust, allergens, and other particulate matter, making it an ideal option for households with pets, allergies, or a desire for cleaner air. 

These filters can last anywhere from 3 to 6 months before needing a replacement, significantly depending on factors such as the presence of pets, overall air quality, and system usage. The cost of these filters varies, but homeowners should expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $40 per filter, which is a reasonable investment for the extended lifespan and improved air quality they offer. 

Investing in a MERV 11-13 filter can lead to noticeable improvements in air cleanliness and system efficiency, providing value beyond the initial purchase price.

The Electronic Capture-Kill Filter

The Electronic Capture-Kill Filter represents the pinnacle of home air purification technology, offering unparalleled defense against airborne pathogens such as viruses and dust mites. Designed to both trap and neutralize a wide array of contaminants, this filter system is a high-end solution for those prioritizing the health and cleanliness of their indoor air. 

These advanced filters have a typical lifespan of 3 to 6 months, depending on the usage and environmental conditions of the home. While the cost for such cutting-edge filtration can be significant, with prices ranging anywhere from $200 to $700 including installation, the investment is often considered worthwhile for the enhanced protection it provides to a household's air quality. 

For families especially concerned about allergens, bacteria, and viruses, the Electronic Capture-Kill Filter offers a powerful tool in maintaining a safe and comfortable living environment.

The Comfort Club: Making Air Filters Easy

Understanding that the task of air filter installation and replacement can often be overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life, A&E offers a suite of services tailored to the average homeowner's needs. We also provide the convenience of ordering filters by the case, allowing you to have a fresh filter on hand the moment you realize it's time for a change – no more rushing out to search for a new one!

Our fantastic office staff provides courtesy telephone reminders to keep you on track with importantAn A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air technician opening the sliding side door of a red A&E company van, presumably to grab more tools to finish an HVAC job. maintenance dates, ensuring your home's air filtration system is always at its best. Furthermore, our Comfort Club Maintenance Program not only simplifies your air filter maintenance routine, but also offers exclusive perks such as a 15% discount on air filters. With expert and experienced technicians at the helm, A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air guarantees a seamless and efficient service, making it easier than ever to maintain a healthy and comfortable home environment.

While keeping track of these details may seem daunting, remember that the packaging of your air filter and consultations with our HVAC professionals can offer tailored advice for your situation. Subscribing to reliable industry sources, such as our Learning Center, can also demystify HVAC maintenance, helping you make informed decisions about your home's air quality.

How A&E Can Determine the Right Air Filter for You

Our first step is to send a Home Comfort Advisor, or an HCA, to your home. To clarify, this personalized assessment is part of a broader service package when installing a new system. The determination of your home's air filter needs is included in our initial proposal for new installations, ensuring you receive a tailored solution right from the start. During that visit, we check out your HVAC system to find the right size and type of filter, so your system doesn’t have to work too hard or get all clogged up. Then, we take a look around your house. 

A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air technician sitting with a woman at her kitchen table, discussing her HVAC needs.Got pets? 

Lots of people living there? 

Anyone have allergies? 

We consider all that to make sure we choose a filter that can handle everything in your air. 

We also think about how often you want to be changing that filter and how much you’re willing to spend, both right now and down the road. Our goal is to find you a filter that doesn’t break the bank but still keeps your air clean and your system running smoothly.

When you meet with our HCA, it’s like getting a check-up for your HVAC system. We’ll chat with you, take a look at your system, and figure out together what filter will work best in your home. We make sure you know all your options and help you pick the best one. 

Understanding Your Air Filter

At A&E Plumbing, Heating and Air, we've unpacked the essentials on when and why you should replace your air filter, alongside the importance of selecting the right type for your home's unique needs. By offering personalized advice through our Home Comfort Advisor visits and ensuring you're equipped with the right filter that aligns with your home environment, health needs, and budget, we’re here to simplify the process. Plus, with our Comfort Club Maintenance Program offering perks like 15% off air filters and courtesy reminders for upcoming maintenance, keeping your home's air clean has never been easier. 

Now that you know how simple A&E can make your air filter experience become, it’s time to reach out to one of our Home Comfort Advisors to figure out how we can better optimize your home. Reach out to us today and together, we can help you begin breathing easy with cleaner air!

Daphne Hunt

Daphne Hunt has always loved the written art. With a pencil in one hand, a notebook in the other, and a whole crew of family in the background celebrating her latest A in any given English-focused course, she's thrived with any written content. A Bachelor's Degree in English and Mass Communication has only fueled her confidence and knowledge in her craft, and Daphne has grown to love writing articles, works of fiction, and everything in between. She enjoys a quiet life in The Dalles, Oregon with her three young kids and partner, and spends all of the time she's not busy being a mother writing.