Good, Better, Worst — why the “best” air filter may be the worst

Air filter choices for your home, what to consider

If you have a heating or cooling system, you have an air filter. Filters keep contaminants in your environment from getting into your system and wreaking havoc. But beware of over-engineered filters, they may just end up hurting more than they help.


Dirt and dust affect the performance of your equipment, reduce air flow, and spread debris through your entire house. To keep that from happening you need to change your air filters regularly. Like an oil change on your car, your air filter change is the single best maintenance you can perform for your furnace and air conditioner. The lifetimes of filters vary: some filters are effective for only 30 days, many work for 90 days, and some can last nearly a year. There are many different types of filter on the market and only a few air filters work with your system.

The length of time that filters perform depends on many factors. 
  • How often do you leave windows open?​
  • Do you have pets?​
  • Do children live in the home?
  • Does a family member have breathing issues? 

All of these variables factor into determining the right filter and the most effective replacement schedule for your system .

How to choose the right air filter

When it comes to choosing a filter, there are a wide range of options. The most basic filters are jokingly referred to as “kid catchers,” meaning they keep out only the biggest possible particles. If you suffer from allergies, these filters are not sufficient to eliminate the allergens and dust in your home. 

But you say, "That's why I install 'Super-Allergen Deep-Pleat 14-Micron' filters." You should know that the filtration level can be too high for the design of the duct work in the DC area. These filters can starve your unit of air if your system can't draw the air through that dense filter. That means poor air flow. Poor air flow reduces the ability to cool or heat your home — and that damages your comfort system. 

Like an oil change on your car, your air filter change is the single best maintenance you can perform for your air conditioner and furnace.

You need to select the highest level filtration that does not impede the flow of air.

To choose the optimum filter for your home, you need someone to evaluate your system and ductwork. The best plan for maintaining high indoor air quality is to contact a Climate Heating & Cooling technician. They can discuss your filtration requirements and can offer the filter best designed for your needs. And if the filter you need isn’t compatible with your ductwork, Climate can work with you on a redesign to allow for proper air flow and filtration. Climate offers Seasonal Maintenance Programs that include scheduled filter changes and inspections to keep your system running at peak performance. 

Corey Rodgerson

Corey is a third-generation HVAC technician. Both of his grandfathers started in the trade in its infancy and both of his parents continued the tradition with Climate Heating & Cooling. Corey has earned master's licenses as an HVAC Mechanic, Electrician, Gas Fitter, and Plumber. He has been certified in lead remediation, building performance through BPI, and he has completed five NATE certifications for service and installation of HVAC units. He is committed to training and deploying the best technicians in the industry.

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