Fiberglass Air Filters vs. Pleated Air Filters

Learn the difference between these two types of air filters and which one's right for you

Homeowners don’t always know where to start when it’s time to choose an air filter. Because there are several types available at most stores, it’s easy to base your buying decision just on price alone. However, while the cheaper fiberglass air filter might seem like a smart idea for your budget, it may not always be the best choice for your home, your HVAC system, or your family’s health.

Fiberglass vs Pleated air filters

    Here’s a Quick Guide on Two Common Varieties:

  • Fiberglass - Fiberglass air filters are generally inexpensive – sometimes as low as $1. They are good for catching larger debris in the air, like lint and dust, and they work great for airflow for just about any system. On the downside, they aren’t recommended for homes where people have allergies. They also need to be changed regularly – at least monthly. Because they don’t have a lot of surface area and don’t filter smaller items out, they eventually can cause build-up and weaken your HVAC system and decrease its efficiency, which may lead to higher energy costs. Worse – an especially flimsy fiberglass filter can come apart in your system, causing serious damage, as well as putting any filtered debris back into the air.

  • Pleated - Pleated air filters may cost a little more – ranging from $5 to $15 – but they are a good example of getting what you pay for. They’re made from higher quality materials and absorb a significant amount of dust, dirt, and allergens, especially smaller sized particulates like pollen, pet dander, and bacteria. They have other advantages as well. They’re recyclable and only need to be changed about every 90 days. They also hold onto any filtered material well when you’re replacing them. Generally, pleated filters are recommended for those with allergies or related sensitivities and those interested in enjoying great air quality.

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