Fiberglass vs. Pleated: Which Type of Furnace Filter Is Best?

March 8, 2017 5:42 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Did you know that the quality of the air inside your home is often worse than the air outside of your home? The air in your home is loaded with billions of dust particles, allergens, bacteria and other pollutants. That’s why choosing the right furnace filter is crucial for maintaining a healthy quality of air in your home. But how do you know which type of filter is best?

The two most common types of filters out there are fiberglass filters and pleated filters. Both have certain pros and cons. As your local experts in furnace maintenance in Albany, OR, we’ve put together a few points to consider when it comes to deciding between fiberglass and pleated filters:

• Materials: Fiberglass filters are made out of spun glass and use a flat-panel design. Pleated filters, on the other hand, are typically made of cotton, polyester and synthetics, and sometimes may even contain charcoal or carbon. Pleated filters are easily identifiable from fiberglass filters due to their pleated or folded design.

• Lifespan: Manufacturers usually suggest that fiberglass filters be replaced about every 30 days. In fact, fiberglass filters usually come in packs so you can throw the old one away and replace it immediately. Pleated filters, on the other hand, are meant to last much longer and usually only need to be replaced every 90 days.

• Price: Most fiberglass filters cost less than $3, while a pleated filter usually costs about three times as much. Fiberglass filters are your common filters that can be picked up just about anywhere, from your grocery store to your pharmacy. They are considered “disposable” or a quick fix and are, therefore, the more affordable option—at least up front.

• MERV ratings: MERV stands for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which refers to how well the filter can trap air pollutants like dust particles and pet dander. Fiberglass filters typically have a MERV rating of 1 to 4, while pleated filters have a rating of 5 to 12. Due to the materials they’re made of, as well as their pleated design, pleated filters are much better than fiberglass filters at trapping air pollutants, and some can even trap bacteria.

Our recommendation

Pleated filters outrank fiberglass filters in quality and efficiency. And although fiberglass filters may seem like the more economical option up front, when you consider how much more often they need to be replaced, you’ll see that the price of the two filters is nearly equal. As your local experts in furnace maintenance in Albany, OR, we recommend using pleated filters to achieve the best possible quality of air in your home.

Remember that for best results, it’s important to have your filter and your HVAC system professionally checked at least bi-annually. If you feel the air in your home isn’t as fresh as it could be, give Larsell Mechanical Service a call. We can check your filter and your system to help ensure you’re getting the best possible air quality for your home and family.

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