What is a Pleated Air Filter and Why is it Better than Standard Throwaway Filters?

pleated air filterMany homeowners in the Glen Carbon and St. Louis Metro East areas use 1” fiberglass throwaway filters with their furnace or air conditioner. These filters are common because they are inexpensive, but they don’t do a very good job at protecting your HVAC system or your health from the contaminants in your home’s air. If you’d like a better filter for your home, but you’re not ready to install an indoor air cleaner, a pleated air filter might be just what you’re looking for.

What is a pleated air filter?

A “pleat” is the accordion-style fold that you can find on certain types of clothing such as the bottom of a dress. A pleated filter is a type of filter that uses this type of folding pattern in order to increase the filter’s surface area without having a big impact on your system’s airflow.

Pleated filters come in a number of different sizes and MERV ratings, and they can be installed in the same slot that throw away filters are housed.

What are the advantages of a pleated air filter?

  • More efficient than throw away filters. Whereas a standard throwaway filter provides a bare-minimum of protection for your HVAC system, pleated filters are much more effective. A MERV 12 pleated filter, for example, can remove more than 90 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns in size and more than 80 percent of particles between 1 and 3 microns in size. Particles of these sizes do the most damage to your HVAC system, so pleated filters can provide great protection. In addition, pleated filters can remove some of the large allergens in your air like pollen and dust mites, so they can also help improve your family’s allergy symptoms.
  • Last longer than throw away filters. A standard throw away filter typically doesn’t last longer than 30 days. Depending on the type of pleated filter you install, it can last upwards of 60-90 days because of the increased surface area that comes with its pleated design.
  • Little effect on airflow. Another advantage of the design of pleated filters is that it allows for increased surface area without affecting airflow. This is not the case with flat-panel throwaway filters, which can severely decrease your system’s efficiency as they go up in MERV rating.
  • Inexpensive and easy to install. Although indoor air cleaners are much better at improving your home’s air quality and protecting your family’s health, pleated filters are more inexpensive and don’t require a professional installation. This makes a pleated air filter a great choice for homeowners who want to have great protection for their HVAC systems but aren’t yet ready to invest in an indoor air cleaner.

If you have any questions about a pleated air filter, or if you’d like a heating and cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Tiger Services, your Glen Carbon, IL, plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.

photo credit: elcamino73

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