When the hot or cold airstrikes, it is always good to have a reliable HVAC system in your home or business space to cool things down or warm things up when necessary. During the installation of an HVAC system – especially if you plan to do some of it on your own – you will eventually start dealing with filters and wonder whether you can cut an air filter.
While some air filters will fit nicely without requiring any alteration, this might not always be the case, especially if you have ducts that deviate from standard designs. Therefore, you should always address the question of whether you can cut these filters to fit your ducts better and whether this will cause problems before you continue.
Before one can answer this kind of question, you need to investigate the purpose of an air filter, how they work, how one could cut it, and whether cutting it would change any properties that allow it to accomplish its job.
Understanding its Purpose Before You Cut an Air Filter
At its core, these filters act as a barrier between your home and impurities that would otherwise pass through your HVAC system and into your home. These impurities can include anything from dust to bacteria, depending on the environment around the HVAC system itself and how well you maintain your system. Another important job of these HVAC filters is to protect the HVAC system from intrusive particles that could damage it.
Therefore, it goes without saying that if these filters do not work properly, you potentially expose yourself and your HVAC system to impurities. The result could be anything from allergies flaring up to unwanted bacteria freely traveling around your home, and possibly even costly HVAC damages.
How an HVAC Air Filter Works
While there are different air filters (flat-panel, pleated, electrostatic, washable, high-efficiency particulate air), they all have the same purpose: to clean the air that passes through them. Now, even though they all aim to do the same thing, some accomplish this job in different ways than others.
More affordable air filters will commonly use material such as fiberglass that covers the framework of the filter, attempting to filter the particles that pass through. Keep in mind that more affordable comes with an additional price, being they do not filter as well as pricier options.
Other types of materials used range from screens of dense cotton or plastic fibers to electrostatically charged materials. At the top of the list, you will find HEPA filters. These filters deliver exceptional filter quality and are commonly found in hospitals or similar areas that require the cleanest air.
By now, we have established that there are many kinds of filters to use and, more importantly, that they can all cause problems when faulty, which brings us back to our original question: can you cut an air filter and still get full use out of it, or will it degrade the quality of the filter?
Answering the Question: Is it okay to cut an air filter to fit?
The first thing you need to consider is the type of air filter you plan to cut. The reason for this is because some of these filters – especially the more expensive options – can lose much of their structural integrity if cut without experience. When this happens, the filter can perform more poorly than intended, leading to damage to your HVAC system or unwanted particles in your home or business.
The second thing you need to consider is the instructions from the manufacturer itself. If the manufacturer states that you can cut the filters to fit as you please, it is obviously more recommended than if the manufacturer warns against it.
Some manufacturers can even customize the filters for you to fit perfectly when you or your HVAC team puts everything together.
Simply put, yes, you can cut an air filter if you know what you are doing, and if the filters you use will not become too weak from the cutting.
Make Sure You Choose a Reliable HVAC Team
The best thing you can do is work with a team you can trust when choosing your high-performance HVAC system, which HVAC control system you should get, buying reliable products, and maintaining your HVAC system and its filters with regular HVAC cleaning services. The team you choose will ultimately dictate how flexible your system is, how fine-tuned it is for your property, and whether you even need to cut your air filters in the first place.
We recommend keeping an open line of communications with your HVAC team so that your systems can run optimally around the clock. While a good quality filter can do much for your HVAC system and your home, you should never underestimate the importance of HVAC maintenance.
If you ever have any further questions, such as how to cut an air filter, or need a team that can help you set up, install, or decide on products, simply give us a call, and we can help you immediately.