Higher- or Lower-Efficiency Air Filters: Why You Should Prefer the FormerThere’s more to whole-house air filtration than simply sliding a replacement unit into the slot every month (though with air pollution in the Los Angeles basin some of the worst in the country, it’s very important to do that). Understanding the options allows homeowners to improve Indoor Air Quality, or IAQ, and to increase efficiency at the same time. Equipment life may even be extended, so it’s vital to know why, in the choice between higher- or lower-efficiency air filters, you should prefer the former.


Higher-efficiency air filters, by definition, perform better than their lower-efficiency cousins. Filters have one purpose that serves two primary roles: they form a physical barrier in your ducting system that blocks the circulation of airborne contaminants, and this

  • reduces wear-and-tear in the air handler (often called the blower, or fan), thereby extending its working life.
  • arrests some pollutants before they enter the air of your living spaces, improving IAQ, and as a consequence often relieving the symptoms of allergy and asthma sufferers and people who have pulmonary diseases.

The better your filter works, therefore, the better it is for your HVAC installation and for your family. However, there’s a conundrum.

Balancing Act

Buying the most efficient filter available may not be the simple choice it seems. The higher a filter’s efficiency, the greater its resistance to the passage of air through your ducting system. Extremely efficient filters have a correspondingly high impact on flow-through, and may put an additional burden on your air handler that isn’t offset by advantages to your family.

Financial Upside

Even though they may cost more, higher-efficiency filters can save the homeowner money in the long run. As already noted, a reduction in airborne contamination can translate into extended equipment life. The additional cost of using a higher-efficiency filter is marginal when compared to the price of replacing your air handler.

To learn more about your options, or to arrange a free in-home consultation to evaluate your best choice in filters, contact Around the Clock A/C and Heating. We serve all of metropolitan Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Los Angeles, North Hollywood and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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