5 Things You Need To Know about Choosing An Air Filter


According to the dictionary, an air filter is “a device for filtering particles from the air passing through it, especially one protecting the air inlet of an internal combustion engine.” According to Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) engineers, air filters are the first line of defense in protecting your heating and A.C unit. They also happen to be good for your health.

Air filters keep dangerous particles from entering furnaces, cooling units and even vehicle engines. They can also be fitted to eliminate unwanted odours and gaseous compounds. They may be manufactured with the use of foam, cotton, spun fibreglass or pleated paper. 

Many homeowners do not pay close enough attention to their air filters. Most likely because they fail to understand their value.

This article is going to discuss all of the reasons why you ought to maintain your filters with increased vigilance. We will go over 5 vital tips you need to keep in mind the next time you are replacing a filter.


    why are air filters important

Air filters trap dust and grime, keeping impurities from your lungs and machines.

Pollutants in the air make it quite difficult to breathe and carry out day to day activities. The impact of poor air quality is most immediately felt by those with asthma or other breathing conditions. But even for those who feel perfectly healthy, allergens and pollutants in the air can affect health in the long term.

According to the World health organisation, “Approximately 15% of all deaths due to ischaemic heart disease, accounting for over a million premature deaths annually, can be attributed to exposure to household air pollution.” Plus in 2016, the BBC News reported that “air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK.”

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by choosing air filters wisely.

However, poor air filters do not simply affect people, they damage the very units in which we install them.  A dirty filter will send your vehicle to the mechanic frequently. A good one will preserve the performance of your combustion engine by keeping dirt and contaminants out.

Plus, keep a bad filter in the home or office long enough and you just may get to see your HVAC engineer more often than you would like. The most common cause of HVAC failure is an accumulation that clogs air filters.


    quality airfilters

Too many people are unaware of the reasons air filters are important so they opt for the cheapest filter available. We are going to explain why cheap isn’t always best.

Less expensive air filters may save you money but they will not protect your health. If you are ever able to get your hands on a cheap filter for experimentation purposes, try spilling some sugar through it. Safe to declare that a granule of sugar is larger than the typical dust particle in your home. If you can dump a spoonful of sugar through an air filter, you ought to imagine what it is you are breathing in every day.

If sugar doesn’t struggle to get through your filter then allergens, dust and air pollutants will enjoy spreading through your home and machine.

It is critical to remember that air Filters which fail to protect homeowners will also damage the Heating ventilation and Air conditioning (HVAC) unit. Although many engineers will recommend frequent HVAC maintenance to help promote the longevity of your unit, a weak filter will work against you. Be sure to prioritise your indoor air quality by choosing air filters that catch unwanted particles.


    make sure your filter breathes

Now that you have learned that the spaces between your air filter should stop dust in its tracks, or at the very least catch grains of sugar, time to warn you against going to the other extreme.

Your air filter must allow air to get through. The only difference between an air filter which is too fine and one that is too clogged, is dirt. They both harm your HVAC system. You can overwork your unit’s blower motor by forcing it to push air through thick and tight filters.

You may continue to overspend on heavy duty filters which block both air and air pollutants but you will find that your HVAC unit will need replacing before its time is due.

Evaporators will freeze and compressors will malfunction.  It is best to invest in filters which have the filter media spread across a wide surface area, not pressed too tightly together.


air filter standardsIn Europe and in the United Kingdom, air filters are categorised under the EN1822-1 standard. While the United States implement a similar system called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.

High Efficiency Particulate air (HEPA) filters and Ultra-Low Particulate air (ULPA) filters are gauged by their level of efficiency after thorough testing using an aerosol generator. Microscopic particles of a particular size is released in specific quantities and blown through an air filter. Then particles that pass through the filter are counted. This process is repeated numerous times per particle size until a new particle size is tested. Then a ratio of particles before and after the filter is calculated per size of particles.

All of this work is being done so that you have a better idea of what you are buying. Be sure to speak with an HVAC professional about intended use and best recommendations. Some very efficient filters will block out 99% of pollutants but they won’t allow your heating or cooling system to function appropriately. Your heater and air conditioner may have to work much harder to pull air through fine filters. But they will just as easily malfunction if filtration spaces are too wide.

Ask for EN1822-1 rated filters that fit your budget while taking care of the people in your household and promoting the durability of your machine.  


How often do you remember to change your dirty air filter? Be sure to check regularly.

Different filters require different inspection intervals. Follow the recommended guidelines of your air filter with the understanding that your lifestyle will impact how often you ought to evaluate your air filter.

Homes with pets will need to change air filters more frequently than those without. A vacation home will require less scrutiny than a permanent home with a family of five. It is also critical that you take your living/working environment into consideration. If a building is being constructed near your house, chances are your home will experience more dust than usual. If you live in a big city, you are likely coming into contact with more air pollutants and allergens than a friend who lives in a suburban area. Be conscious of your environment, and examine your air filter accordingly.

Note: Many reliable but cost effective air filters will do a good just in protecting your home, office or HVAC unit but will require differing changes. We recommend checking your air filter at least once a month. Those we suffer from allergies ought to inspect and change their air filters more frequently.

If you notice that your filter is looking dark or that there is visible buildup of lint and dust, it is time for a change. Don’t forget the conditions of your ducts. And always be certain to install filters correctly.

How to change your home air filter

    1. Check old filter for build up.

    1. Make sure your new filter fits the correct dimension for your unit (Length x Width x Height)

    1. Look for the arrow on the side of your air filter. It indicates airflow going into the unit.

  1. Insert your air filter in the correct direction.

Since we have helped you understand just how crucial air filters are, we thought we’d leave you with an additional consideration the next time you worry about your home air quality. You just may fall in love with the idea of investing in an ioniser.


what is an ioniser

Looks like we can eliminate pollutants with more than pleated paper and cotton. Ionisers use electricity to eradicate airborne pathogens. Also referred to as Chizhevsky’s chandelier, ionisers electrically charge air molecules while taking advantage of the chemical properties of ions.

Ionisers release negative ions into a room. These ions are attracted to the positive charge pollutants, dust particles and allergens. The combination of discharge and contaminants creates heavier particles which are too dense to continue floating in the air. Thus, instead of breathing them in, you are able to quickly dust or sweep them away.

If you are looking for a modern way to maintain the air quality of your home or work, an ioniser may offer the benefits you are looking for.

And there you have it, five things you need to know about choosing air filters, plus one new air filter for improving your quality of life. We at sovereign hope you enjoyed learning these key details as you are now ready to get the most out of your heating and cooling systems. For all other inquiries related to Heating, ventilation and Air conditioning, do not hesitate to contact us. We specialize in HVAC design, maintenance and installations.

Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.