Your HVAC conditioning system provides you with essential comfort during the seasons when natural temperatures are most difficult to bear. However, many people do not know as much as they should about how their climate control systems work. Understanding some specific information about your system can allow you to take better care of it. In turn, taking proper care of your system can provide you with significant savings by making your system more energy efficient and providing it with a longer lifespan. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most important but often-overlooked parts of your HVAC: the air filters. Specifically, we’ll examine electrostatic air filters so that you can learn more about these components and their potential uses in your system.
- Easy to understand and effective. Remember being a kid and rubbing your feet on the carpet so that you could build up a static charge in your body (and shock your siblings for laughs afterwards?). That’s the same basic idea behind electrostatic air filters, which are made from cotton fibers containing a charge. The difference is that the charge in these threads isn’t intended to shock anybody. Instead, it’s there to attract particles to the filter so that they will be captured instead of entering the rest of your system. As such, electrostatic filters represent a more effective way to trap smaller particles than many conventional filters.
- Electrostatic air filters are excellent for catching bacteria. We say “smaller particles”, because electrostatic filters tend to be less effective at trapping larger particles. All filters are rated according to the MERV scale, which runs from 1 to 20. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and this system exists specifically to measure the effectiveness of air filters. The lower a filter’s MERV rating is, the better its ability to trap smaller particles will be, and vice-versa. At this point, most electrostatic air filters are rated from 1 to 3 on the MERV scale, which makes them especially useful for trapping bacteria.
- If you need to catch bigger particles, you may need other filters. While electrostatic filters are undoubtedly good at preventing bacteria from entering your system, they may be less adept at catching dust or pollen. This means that buildings whose occupants have allergies or asthma may require different filters.
- Electrostatic filters still require maintenance. No matter what kind of filters you purchase, it is vital to make sure that you are putting fresh ones in your HVAC each month. Neglected air filters can cause a whole host of complications for HVAC owners, including compromised air circulation and quality. In turn, poor air circulation can result in efficiency problems, as your system will have to use more power to heat or cool your space adequately. Overworking your system in this way also contributes to wear and tear, which decreases the lifespan of the parts in your HVAC and increases the likelihood of a significant breakdown such as compressor failure. You can avoid such problems and their attendant repair costs by changing your HVAC filters every month while the system is in use. You should also supplement your personal maintenance routine with a yearly service call to a licensed HVAC technician who can ensure that your system is working efficiently and diagnose potential problems before they have a chance to metastasize and wreak havoc.
- Easy to clean and reuse. One of the key benefits of electrostatic air filters is that they are reusable. Instead of having to purchase new air filters each month, you can just remove, wash, and replace the one you already have.
- Save money over time. Although electrostatic air filters are more expensive up front, their reusability will save you from having to make repeat purchases in the future. As a result, you will ultimately end up with more savings by using electrostatic filters for an extended period.
- Electrostatic filters can save you time. You’ll also save the time that it would take to go shopping for filters each month, and you’ll find the actual process of replacing your filters easier. As such, you may be less likely to neglect your filter replacement, and more likely to care for your system correctly.
As noted above, the kind of air filters that you choose for your HVAC system may depend on the individuals in your building. If regular occupants are prone to conditions that may be triggered or exacerbated by larger particles, it may be more sensible to continue buying conventional air filters, since many of them have higher MERV ratings. However, if that is not the case, then buying electrostatic air filters can prove more convenient and cost-effective. Review this list next time you need new filters, and make the right choice for your household.