How to Choose Air Filters for Homes

The average Canadian spends approximately 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, the air pollution levels inside homes can be two to five times higher than air pollution levels outdoors. Some of the common indoor allergens include tobacco smoke, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, pollen, and dust. Choosing the correct air filters for homes can help improve indoor air quality and minimize the health risks linked to poor indoor air quality.

Air Filters for Homes

How Air Filters Work

Whether intended for use in air conditioners, furnaces, or air purifiers, air filters play a key role in keeping your HVAC unit running smoothly. They trap small particles as polluted air passes through them, preventing dust mites, dust, pollen, smoke, pet dander, and mold spores from contaminating your unit and hindering efficiency.

Better air quality filters can save you on the cost of HVAC unit maintenance, replacement, or repairs. Also, an efficient system means lower indoor heating and cooling costs.

You probably know that respiratory conditions like asthma and allergies can be triggered by dust and other airborne particles circulating in your home. Thus, using air filters to reduce the volume of contaminants in your indoor air can bring relief. Note that some air filters can also trap viruses and bacteria to reduce the spread of infections.

Pick the Right Air Filter for your Home

Not all home air filters or air purifiers are created equal. If you are faced with a sea of air filter options, here are important considerations you must make.

Types of Air Filters

Home air filters are available in a variety of materials and designs. This makes it easier to find the best option to protect your HVAC unit and keep your indoor air clean. Some of the top types of air filters include electrostatic filters, pleated filters, washable filters, smart air filters, and polyester or fiberglass air filters. If you are not sure about an option that matches your home’s needs, consult with an experienced indoor air quality expert.

Must-have Features

Once you decide the best filter type for your home, there are several features your preferred air filter must have. One of these features is the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of the filter. This is a 1-20 rating system representing the amount of particles an air filter can capture. A higher MERV rating means the filter can capture smaller particles in the air.

Generally, a MERV rating of 6 or more is recommended for residential properties. However, most homeowners opt for an 8 to 13 MERV rating to ensure smaller particles are filtered out of their indoor air. Note that air filters with MERV ratings of 14 to 20 are used in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

You may also want to consider High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters designed to trap even the finest particles. These air filters are great for individuals with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Remember, HEPA filters can only be used with compatible systems.

Filter Size

Home air filters come in different sizes, which is why you need to choose the correct size for your HVAC unit. The right fit will ensure the air filter works efficiently. You can choose the right filter by checking the current one, which will have measurements printed on the frame.


Choosing an air filter for your home does not have to be a daunting task. There are many different types of air filters on the market, but when you know what to look for, the entire process is easier. Be sure to consider the size of the unit, efficiency rating, and cost when selecting an air filter for your home. It’s also recommended to consult with an expert if you need help choosing the right filter.


How often should you change your air Filter?

The frequency with which you need to change your filter depends on a few factors, such as pets, smokers in the house, children with allergies, and whether anyone in your household suffers from asthma. If you have pets or smokers in the house, we recommend changing your filter every 1-3 months. If neither of those conditions applies to you, then you can probably get away with changing your filter every 3-6 months. However, if anyone in your household has allergies or asthma, it’s best to err on the side of caution and change your filter every month or two.

What type of air filter should you buy?

The type of air filter you need depends on the size of your HVAC system. Most systems use either a 1-inch or 2-inch filter, but it’s always best to check with your HVAC professional to be sure. The type of filter you buy (pleated, electrostatic, and more) is a matter of personal preference. Pleated filters tend to last longer and are more effective at trapping smaller particles, but they’re also more expensive. Fibrous filters are less expensive but need to be changed more often. Electrostatic filters are permanently charged and can trap both large and small particles effectively, but they’re also more expensive than pleated or fibrous filters.