Your HVAC system performs many jobs. It heats your home during colder months, ventilates your home, and cools your home during warmer months. That is what HVAC stands for, by the way — Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning.
Birmingham, Alabama is known for warm, humid weather. With just a few weeks of winter temperatures, plants thrive in our climate year-round creating massive amounts of pollen. This pollen and other factors can affect your HVAC system and air filter.
We’ve pulled together a few of the best air filter options for Birmingham, AL.
Types Of Air Filters
There are a few options for air filters for your residential HVAC system in Birmingham, AL. They all have their pros and cons, too.
HEPA Air Filters
The first that comes to mind is the HEPA air filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. This air filter is a pleated mechanical filter known to trap larger particles like pollen. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA filters theoretically can trap 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns or larger.
This air filter is recommended for those who suffer from allergies, but it cannot trap particles from gases, chemicals, odors, or fumes. As in — it can’t filter out the smell of fish cooking or burnt food in the kitchen. You will want to look for a HEPA filter with a MERV rating of 11 or higher.
Electrostatic Air Filters
This filter often uses cotton and paper fibers with a metal grid to create static to collect pollen, dust, and other particles. Think of it like static clinging to your clothes. Everything sticks and holds on.
Electrostatic air filters may be a great option for those dealing with allergies during the spring in Birmingham, AL. This option may even be more cost-effective because they come in reusable options. When it is time to change the filter, you simply wash it, let it dry, and place it back in your HVAC system.
Pleated Air Filters
These air filters maximize surface area with the pleated design. This means more airborne particles can be captured and removed from the air. Pleated air filters are often made of polyester or cotton fibers.
If you have an older system that isn’t running in tip-top shape or you have not serviced your HVAC system in some time, a pleated air filter is not the best option. These filters are great at collecting dust, pollen, and other particles but can also hinder airflow. A weak HVAC system will not be able to pull enough air through the filter.
The Best Air Filter For Your Birmingham, AL Home
Due to the climate and environment in the Birmingham, AL area, we believe these three options are your best bet for affordable and efficient air filters. Due to the extreme level of pollen that we often see year-round, these filters will work best. Which one you choose will greatly depend on your home HVAC system and its capabilities.
If you are concerned about other pollutants like smoke, fumes, and odors, you will want to consider other options.
The Bottom Line on Air Filters
All of the air that circulates through your HVAC system, to either heat or cool your home, will eventually pass through the air filter. This is why it is so VERY important to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Dirty, clogged air filters can cause HVAC system malfunctions and equipment damage.
It is a general recommendation that you should change the air filter in your home every 30 days when using less expensive fiberglass filters. High-end pleated filters can longer, but these typical guidelines assume average use and don’t take into account the size and type of filter. The longer the filter is in place, the more dirt, dust, and allergens are trapped clogging the filter and decreasing its efficiency.
Remember to choose your filter based on the age and type of HVAC system in your house as well as your living style:
- Does anyone in your home have allergies and/or asthma?
- Do you have any indoor pets?
- Do you have younger children?
If you answer yes to any of the questions above, you’ll want to replace your filter more often than the standard recommendation. FREQUENCY IS KEY!
Springtime means pollen. Check out how to improve indoor air quality in the spring.
Maintaining Your HVAC System With Service Tech
Our expert HVAC system technicians are able to maintain your HVAC system and help decide what filter is best. Learn more about our Indoor Air Quality service to help keep your home as comfortable as possible. Contact us today for all your residential HVAC service needs in the Birmingham, AL area.