Higher-efficiency air filters may cost more per filter than those thin fiberglass models, but they’re a much better long-term investment. There are a few good reasons for that.
Better indoor air quality – one-inch-thick fiberglass filters are designed to keep the bigger debris particles out of your blower motor and ducts, not to clean your air. To reduce the amount of pollen, mold spores, dust mites and other lung irritants in your air, choose a filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of between 7 to 12. If you have allergies or another respiratory condition, aim for MERV 11 or 12. Filters in this efficiency range are typically pleated filters or another type of extended-media filter.
Improved energy efficiency – A dirty air filter can cut your heating and cooling system’s efficiency by 10 percent. A buildup of debris on the filter interferes with airflow into the system. Your blower motor is forced to work harder and use more energy to compensate and maintain necessary airflow. Higher-efficiency air filters don’t become dirty as quickly as low-efficiency models, so there’s less risk of them slowing down airflow.
Longer component lifespan – Higher-efficiency air filters are better at protecting your system’s components from potentially damaging dirt and other debris. Clean components are not only more efficient, they also last longer. With a good filter, you’re less likely to be stuck with the costs of having to replace a part that failed early.
Money saved on filters – Some higher-efficiency air filters require replacement only once a year. Fiberglass filters need to be changed monthly or every three months at the very least. So while the more efficient models cost more per filter, you’ll need fewer of them. Over the year, the costs even out. In fact, investing in better filters may end up costing you less than buying cheap ones.