Looking to upgrade your air filters? You can breathe easy with help from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, your resident HVAC professional in the U.S.. While there are several types of air filters to choose from, installing electrostatic air filters is a simple way to enhance indoor air quality.
Like other air filters, the purpose of an electrostatic air filter is to clean the air flowing through your home, lowering the amount of allergens and pollutants that circulate within your home while also protecting your HVAC system from harmful debris. Unlike other air filters, however, electrostatic air filters use electromagnetism to capture particulates from the air.
Think of electrostatic air filters like magnets. At each end of a magnet, there are two different poles. If you’ve ever tried to push two like poles together, you’d notice that they repel each other. Likewise, when two opposing poles become close, they attract one another.
Electrostatic air filters work similarly to dust magnets, using static electricity to attract dirty air and ensure it sticks to the filter. Coarse fibers of the filter are electrostatically charged and gather particles over time. As more particles build up, the filter’s effectiveness diminishes, but a thorough cleaning can reverse that issue. When washed and maintained regularly, these filters can last indefinitely.
Filter effectiveness is judged on the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). This rating is determined by the size of particulates a filter can capture. MERV ratings can range from 1-20, with lower ratings being less effective than higher ratings. In addition, it’s important to note that as the rating goes up, the harder an HVAC system has to work to push air through the filter. Most residential air filters are rated somewhere around 1-12, with filters rated 13 or higher considered hospital-grade since they might require a specialized HVAC system.
The most common air filters are made of pleated media housed in disposable cardboard frames. These filters are considered mechanical because they physically block pollutants from entering your home, unlike electrostatic air filters which depend mainly on static electricity to trap particles. In general, these filters have MERV ratings between 1 and 4, meaning they can handle large debris simply enough but struggle at filtering smaller allergens and pollutants. Unfortunately, these air filters must be replaced every 30-60 days and the cost of replacement filters can accumulate quickly.
By comparison, electrostatic filters typically have MERV ratings of between 8-10 and are more effective at removing particles from the air than regular disposable air filters. These filters do a great job of protecting your HVAC system from large debris and can increase indoor air quality. Unlike disposable air filters, permanent electrostatic air filters are reusable after washing—saving you money in the long run.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters have a MERV rating of between 17 to 20 and can remove up to 99.97% of airborne contaminants. HEPA filters are highly efficient at improving indoor air quality and can even reduce harmful pathogens. Frequently deployed in hospitals, HEPA filters are less likely to be installed in residential settings because of their cost, but can dramatically improve your quality of life if you suffer from allergies or have respiratory problems.
While less effective than HEPA filters, electrostatic filters still do a fantastic job of filtering the air and protecting you from harmful contaminants. Because they’re reusable, the cost savings earned from installing permanent electrostatic air filters can be useful, particularly if you’re not sensitive to the airborne particles that HEPA filters block.
Need help deciding if electrostatic air filters are the correct choice for your home? Get in touch with your neighborhood HVAC experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and we’ll help you make the right decision.
Contact us to schedule your indoor air quality consultation in the U.S. today!
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