How Do Air Filters Work? The Basics

15 Nov.,2022


Air Filter Supplier

How Do Air Filters Work?

When an air filter needs replacing, the first question that usually comes to mind is, do air filters actually make a difference? Air filters actually play an important part in keeping any homes ventilation system clean. The air system in your home pump in air form the outside and in this process can bring in all sorts of irritants and allergens from outside. The filters in a system keep airborne irritants out of your home by absorbing or trapping them.

Health Benefits

Air filters are capable of blocking out some of the worst airborne elements. Some airborne contaminants are capable of causing breathing problems or allergy attacks. Air quality in your home determines the health of those inside and poor air quality can either trigger issues or even cause them to develop.

The filters in your home need to be consistently maintained or else your home runs the risk of having uncomfortably low air quality. A filters MERV rating determines what kind of irritants and allergens it will be able to block out.

MERV Ratings

Air Filters consists of a mesh weave that traps smaller and smaller particles depending on the weaves tightness. MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, ratings are the measured calculations of filter weave tightness. Air filters at higher ratings have tighter weaved mesh that can absorb or trap particles to an almost microscopic degree. When a weave is too tight, this actually causes issues in indoor air quality.

Your home uses air filters in the 8-12 range, higher ranges are usually reserved for industrial or commercial buildings. A filter with a high MERV rating has weaves so tight that airflow has difficulty going through. The air system needs to compensate for any airflow problems by using extra energy to push the air forward. The average home ventilation system is most effective when using moderately rated filters. Filter King offers two models of filter that you may install in your home.

The recommended Filter King premium model filter is capable of blocking out:

  • Dust
  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses

Average filters provide protection but require maintenance depending on MERV ratings and location.

Do Air Filters Work? (Hint: Environment Changes Make a Difference!)

When asking “Do air filters make a difference?”, there are multiple factors to consider. An air filter’s MERV rating will determine the amount and type of particles it will be able to trap. Filters with higher ratings trap more particles and need replacement more often or there is a risk of airflow blockage. The environment plays a large role as well. Certain areas are more in danger of airborne irritants and allergens that float around in the air. You will need to properly care for your air filters or face the consequences of extra costs and possible contaminants.

Proper Care Means Proper Air Filtration

When an air filter becomes dirty, this causes a blockage that affects the air flow throughout your home. The dirty filter has so much dirt and debris to a point where the air system requires extra energy to push airflow through. When you maintain your air conditioner and filters, the effects keep the extra electricity usage from affecting your energy bills.

Clean air filters and their energy benefits lower your home’s bills and environmental impact. Your home can stay green, keep clean and save you money when new air filters keep airflow unobstructed. You need to keep your filters maintained in order to keep the ventilation system working. Filter King is ready, willing and able to offer quality air filters at affordable prices of several sizes for the average home.

You Need to Change Your Air Filters Need Periodically

Air filters in your home need maintenance or you could be facing mounting consequences over time. We provide fresh, new air filters that will be able to provide your home with efficient ventilation protection. Filter King also offers a subscription service where new air filters arrive at your home ready for use. Air filters are a vital part of keeping the air you breathe fresh and clean so do not hesitate to buy the filters your home needs.

DIY Air Filters Guide

When you are making the air ventilation in your home as efficient as possible, keeping your air filters clean is a must. Your home’s air quality is capable of dropping overnight when there is nothing to filter the air pumped inside. Providers like Filter King allow you to purchase filters with the additional option for a subscription. Your air filters periodically changing, and you could replace them yourself. The air filter replacement process is not difficult but it needed consistently to ensure high quality air for your home.

What Your Air Filter Does

An air filter keeps your home clear from the irritants, contaminants, and pollutants hidden in outside air. A ventilation system relies on the air filters to prevent the air running through it to leave any issues behind. When your home has clean, effective filters in place it makes a positive impact on the air you are breathing in. Your home, with higher air quality, is also safer for the residents inside.

Effects on Health

Air Filters need maintenance in order to make sure that your home’s air is clean and free from airborne problems that affect breathing. When your homes air quality is enhanced, there is less of a chance for any lung problems or asthma triggers to be floating around. Air filters block out harmful pollutants, smoke, and pollen that have harmful effects on people with breathing issues or are still developing. You will need to keep the air filters in your home consistently clean and functioning to prevent breathing complications from coming up.

Effects on Costs

When an air filter is dirty or ineffective, then that may lead to restrictive issues with air flow throughout your home. When there are airflow problems, then the ventilation system needs to use extra energy in order to have it circulating again. The extra energy used to compensate for the restricted air flow will show up on the energy bill at the end of the month. You can save on costs by making sure that the air filters are doing their job without stopping the air from coming inside.

Effects on Environment

The energy used to power a ventilation system ties directly into the environmental imprint your home has. If you want to keep your home green, then keeping your air filters clean is a must.

Air Filter Types and MERV Ratings

There are multiple types of filters that are able to affect the different aspects of a ventilation system. The first thing to know about the air filter types you can purchase is MERV levels. MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Rating Value, is the evaluation system used to gauge how effective an air filter is. Air filters at higher ratings have tighter weaves that dictate how thoroughly they filter any air passing through.

You may think that higher MERV rating mean that a filter is automatically better but this is not always the case. High MERV rated filters can be so tightly weaved that they actually end up restricting air flow throughout a system. The energy required to pump air through higher MERV rated filters end up on a monthly bill, increasing energy costs. High MERV Filters need more frequent cleaning or replacement, also adding to costs. You can find that it often more economic to purchase less restrictive filters for your home.

Replacing the Air Filter Yourself

The actual air filter replacement process itself only needs a few easy to follow steps:

Open the vent or covering leading to the filter. The owner's manual should tell you where the filter will be.

Remove any metal strips, screws, latches or clips keeping the filter in place. A screwdriver will be able to help you more easily remove any coverings.

Take out the air filter and then replace it with a new one or wash it. If you are replacing the filter then the new one will need to be identical to the last. There will be the nominal size number printed along the side of the replaced filters cardboard edge. The nominal number will help you order the correct filter size and model you need.

You need to make sure the “air in” and “air out” print is facing the correct direction.

Place the strips, screws, latches or coverings back again and close the compartment.

Invest in a Subscription for Quality Air Filters from a Reliable Provider

Air filter maintenance is not a one-time task. You are going to need to keep a ventilation system clean consistently over time in order to make sure your air quality does not begin to dip. Filter King offers quality replacement filters at affordable prices that allow you to stock up on the filters you need. Call us today and start cleaning up the air quality in your home today. 

How Do Air Filters Work?

Air pollution is a massive problem in the modern world, and some studies have been able to establish a link between air pollution and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Now more than ever, it is imperative to invest in a good air filter.

There are particles in the air that are not visible to the human eye. Those particles can be dust, pollen, mold, animal dander, bacteria, aromatic compounds, etc. When these particles get into the body, they can cause irritation, flu symptoms and even allergic reactions. About 10,000 liters of oxygen enters the lungs daily, although the body only needs 420 liters. With so much excess air passing through our systems, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of that air.

A certain amount of household contaminants is unavoidable. Frequent cleaning can reduce these contaminants, but they will find their way in regardless. A good air filter can help grab the stragglers and prevent them from entering your family’s lungs.

For clarification: there is a difference between the air filter and air purifier. Air filters work by effectively trapping contaminants, while purifiers filter AND sanitize the air. Of course, no air filter or air purifier can eliminate 100% of the air pollutants in your home.

Usually, air filters are made from a spun fiberglass material, paper, or cloth. Air filters can trap and hold many different types of pollutants and particles, including:

Dust and dirt


Bacteria and microorganisms

Mold or Mold Spores

Fibers and lint

Metal, plaster or wood particles

Hair and animal dander

How do I make the right choice for my air filter?

Air filters are measured, on a scale from one to seventeen, by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). Lower efficiency air filters can filter out bigger particles like dust and soot, but not smaller particles like bacteria and aromatic compounds. Higher MERV numbers indicate better filtration.

MERV 1-4: The cheapest and least effective filter. Good for macroscopic contaminants like small pieces of trash and dirt.

MERV 6-8: Made with pleated cloth or paper. Used for residential spaces.

MERV 9-12: More effective filtration for those with allergies, or who are sensitive to air contaminants.

MERV 13-16: Extremely effective. Used for very sensitive allergies or in healthcare applications.

Types of Air Filters

Disposable air filters: The vast majority of residential air filters are disposable. They’re cheaper to buy, easy to replace, and come in a variety of sizes and levels of filtration. Check out Filter King’s online store to find your ideal filter. We have just about every size you could ever need, with several different strengths and variations.

High-efficiency particulate (HEPA) air filter: One of the most reliable types of air filters available is the HEPA air filter. They absorb 99.97% of pollutants in the air smaller than 0.3 microns in size. This eliminates aromatic compounds, dust and bacteria. As such, HEPA air filters are not only used in homes but also in industries where the air is needed to be extremely hygienic. The medical industry is an example. Carbon air filters are also available to eliminate smoke from tobacco and other chemicals.

Washable or reusable filters are available in both flat-panel and pleated models and can be washed with water or vacuumed to eliminate any-particle build-up. They are more environmentally friendly than disposable filters. Better still, they can be cheaper in the long run. These air filters can last approximately five to ten years or more. Some filter companies claim that their reusable filters can outlast your HVAC system itself.

Pleated Air Filters: Pleated air filters use a special folding pattern to trap common household contaminants like dust and pet dander. Pleating allows for effective filtration without airflow restriction. This is extremely important, since an air filter is more effective when air passes through it more frequently. If there’s an airflow restriction, the air in your home is passing through the filter fewer times each hour, leaving it dirtier than it might be with a filter that has a lower MERV, but a higher frequency of air cycles.

Electrostatic Air Filters: Some air filters are deliberately charged electrostatically to trap smaller particles such as smoke, pollen or bacteria.

The Physics Behind Air Filters

All air filters work in roughly the same way. There are three main physical processes that allow air filters to grab small particles.

First is the idea of inertial impaction. Inertial impaction might sound complicated, but it’s just a fancy way to say “crash”. In inertial impaction, particles run into the strains in the filter, and stick. Air continues to move past the strands, and the particles are trapped in the filter.

The second process is called interception. Slightly more complicated than inertial impaction, interception, is the process of static electrical attraction. If a particularly small particle enters the filter, it may be so small that it won’t hit any fibers directly. In order to catch it, the fibers use static electricity to attract the particle to the fibers. This static electricity is the same thing that allows you to shock your sibling after scooting your socks on carpet.

The filter gathers charge in much the same way, with the air “scooting” past the fibers. Some filters, as we mentioned, are deliberately charged to maximize this effect.

The last process is the most complicated. It’s called diffusion, and it works in two ways. Both ways rely on Brownian motion, which, put simply, is the random motion of a particle within a fast moving fluid (like a dust particle in air). This Brownian motion, in the first method of diffusion, causes the particle to move around randomly within the filter media, eventually causing inertial impaction. The second method is a permanent state of Brownian motion within the filter - a kind of particle purgatory, with a given contaminant circling endlessly until you take the filter out of the vent.

Where do I get the best air filters?

Filter King is called the king for a reason. With unparalleled customer service, fast delivery, subscription flexibility, and one of the largest selections of filter sizes in the observable universe, Filter King is your go-to for air filter delivery.

Start by visiting our online store. Find your size, select your strength, and get your filter delivered in a few days!

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