When it comes to maintaining HVAC system performance, choosing the right type of air filter is important. However, the decision-making process can be challenging because of the variety of options on the market. You’ll find fiberglass, pleated and deep media filters. Pleated filters are considered the safest choice for most HVAC systems. Made of fabric polyester material, this type of filter is integrated within a rigid panel and pleated to enhance the surface area. Compared to other air filters, pleated options offer particulate resistance. Here are the reasons why pleated air filters are considered so effective.
What Are Pleated Filters?
A pleated air filter uses screens of polyester, plastic fibers or cotton to remove dust and other particles from the air that enters the HVAC system. Unlike standard filters, they have pleats, or folds, that offer more surface area for filtering more debris that could otherwise destroy the AC coils or blower fan. As an added advantage, pleated filters improve indoor air quality.
There are two reasons why pleated air filters are popular:
- They are more efficient and sturdier compared to conventional filters.
- They are affordable compared to electrostatic filters, which are more efficient.
Pleated filters come in different depth sizes, ranging from 1-6 inches, as well as varying Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings. Most filters that are fitted on HVAC systems have depths of 1-2 inches.
Some of these filters are fitted with wire mesh to help maintain their shapes while also preventing blockage. However, wire mesh material on the filters is an indication of low quality. Always consider pleated filters that are made of sturdy material and do not need an extra wire mesh.
Why Pleated Filters Are So Effective
Pleated air filters have several advantages, including cutting down repair issues, safeguarding the AC from clogging or leaks and saving on energy. Here are the reasons why the filters are effective.
Higher Filtration Efficiency
Compared to standard filters, pleated air filters provide a higher level of filtration. These filters come in a variety of sizes to fit all types of HVAC systems. The widths of pleated filters range between 1-6 inches to restrict both minute and large airborne particles. Pleated filters can trap pollutants as small as 0.3 microns, which includes some viruses and bacteria. As a result, they help limit harmful particulate matter and allergens from entering the airflow.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pleated filters can capture microscopic particles. Because they are fitted with a unique synthetic wire media, they can filter out dust, mold, pollen, dust mite, and other small bacteria.
Facilitates Ideal Airflow
Pleated air filters have higher MERV ratings compared to other filters. This means they’re more efficient in restricting several pollutants. While other filters experience a high-pressure drop due to high MERV, thus, resisting airflow, this type of filter does not interfere with airflow. Therefore, your system will be able to maintain its cooling or heating efficiency. Pleated filters with high MERV ratings are very effective in trapping particles even with the smallest sizes. A MERV 12 filter from Bardi will trap up to 80% of particles with diameters smaller than one micron, including smoke and pet dander.
A vital factor to note is that these filters should be changed more often because they capture more particles. This increases their chances of clogging up faster. A MERV 8, for instance, a filter can last up to three months. Meanwhile, a filter with MERV 12 would only last one month in the same environment. Therefore, you should not forget to change pleated filters often to prevent clogs that might affect the functioning of the HVAC system.
Pleated Filters Don’t Require Any Ductwork Modification
Installing different types of air filters usually requires a modification of the HVAC system. A typical residential unit and ductwork would not easily accommodate these filters because of the increased resistance to airflow and the variable sizes. However, when installing pleated air filters to your HVAC system, you do not need to alter the ductwork. In fact, you have the option of sliding the filter directly into space where the standard flat filter had been installed. When properly installed, the high-efficient filters prevent leakage of any air passing through the system.
Because of their durability, pleated filters are designed for all types of HVAC systems in commercial, industrial and residential areas where high-quality indoor air is needed. The filters have a longer service life compared to other options. In many cases, you won’t need to buy or reinstall a new air filter for at least three or four months. This is because of the more expanded surface area that enables the filter to trap more allergens and dust particles than standard filters.
The surface area is an added advantage because it reduces the number of air pollutants penetrating through the filter into a heating coil and blower motor areas. The filtration media is less porous with polyester, cotton or blended materials; thus, trapping particles efficiently.
Because pleated air filters have more surface area, they can incorporate active carbon materials to the surface, which helps in the removal of odors. The filters can also be permeated with electrostatic properties to trap even more debris and dust for better air quality.
Better HVAC Protection
The average efficiency of a pleated air filter ranges between 25% and 30%, but it may go up to 45% in the case of a carbon material. In particular, air filters with fine mesh carbon help to remove odors and malodorous compounds even at low concentration levels. As such, they can improve the efficiency and performance of HVAC units, thus, protecting them from damage and extending their lifespan.
You’ll want to achieve an ideal balance when purchasing an air filter. You would want to have clean air while also not exposing your HVAC system to restricted airflow and wasted energy. Considering these features, pleated air filters can give a home fresh air while also enhancing the HVAC system’s efficiency.
Tips to Replace Your Pleated Air Filter
- When replacing a pleated filter, always consider a new one with the same size
- Consider assigning the replacing job to a person who is not allergic to dust or has respiratory issues.
- Be sure to turn off the furnace before removing the filter.
- Check for the manufacturer’s guide for additional tips on how to replace your filter.
If you want your indoor air quality to be clean and handle bacteria, mold, dust or pollen, then consider using a pleated air filter. These filters are not only cost-effective, but they’re also efficient compared to standard types. Notably cheaper than high-end alternatives, pleated filters exist in different designs and can be customized into varying sizes. Thus, you will always get the right size for your HVAC system.
At Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can make sure you get the right air filter that gives you the best indoor air quality. Located in Norcross, our company offers reliable HVAC and plumbing services. We can handle installations, automation, inspections and repairs. To learn more, contact us today.