Are Thicker Air Filters Really Better?

Most air filters are 1 inch thick, but some systems can accommodate filters 2 to 5 inches thick. In our tests, we found that the thicker the filter, the better it works and the longer the replacement intervals. This means it's better for you and your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. At first glance, thicker air filters may seem like the best option.

After all, thicker means more filtration, right? In most cases, that's true. Thicker air filters tend to last longer because they have more square feet to capture and retain air particles. For example, a 1-inch air filter may need to be changed every month, while a 4-inch air filter can last up to six months. Replacing your standard one-inch air filter with a 5-inch pleated filter can improve the quality of the air inside your home.

This is because larger air filters have higher MERV ratings, leading to better filtration of contaminants and allergens. In other words, the thicker the filter, the more dirt it can hold. And, therefore, you can enjoy a wider range of filter frequency replacement. However, it's important to note that thicker filters can add stress to the blower in an HVAC system by impeding airflow.

To avoid this problem and potentially prevent an after-hours call from a disgruntled customer, two design adjustments to the facility may be necessary. Most HVAC technicians recommend changing 1-inch air filters every 30 days, while 4-inch filters can be changed every 3-6 months. If you use a 5 inch media filter, it is suitable for at least 6 months and up to one year. Nowadays, air filters have adopted this method and more people are using specialized air filters with carbon.

The 4-inch thick air filter has a definite advantage over the 1-inch filter in terms of longevity, airflow and maximum filtration potential. Instead of having extra protection for allergies, you can use your air treatment system if you think a wide-pleated air filter doesn't protect your family enough. When selecting your next filter replacement, it's important to compare the 1 and 4 inch oven filters side by side. Instead of a thin, single-layer filter which provides 18 to 24 inches of filter media for return air to pass through, a five-inch filter measuring 21 inches wide by 23.5 inches high provides 16 feet of filter media. Check the filter every 1-2 months during heavy use and change it when necessary to avoid efficiency and mechanical problems. You can also use air ionizers which can help treat the air around your home by eliminating allergens and viruses.

But have you ever thought about switching to a larger air filter such as a thicker 5-inch oven filter? After all, most homes have central HVAC systems that can accommodate large air filters. This substantially increases the volume of air that the filter can process and reduces the strain placed on the blower. And while media filters produce more airflow (less pressure drop) and clog less easily, you should be careful with the MERV rating.

LaDonna Uccio
LaDonna Uccio

Devoted food advocate. General internetaholic. Extreme beer aficionado. Devoted social media maven. Lifelong tvaholic.

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