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Is a Thicker Air Filter Better?

There is a ton of advice out there regarding your HVAC system’s air filter, and not all of it is exactly accurate. Air filters are an important part of your heating and cooling cycle, and they play an integral role in everything from your system’s longevity and day to day operation to the quality of your indoor air. However, it’s important that you choose the right one for your needs.

You may have heard the saying that the thickness of your air filter is an important part of its quality, and that thicker filters are better for your system and your home. While it’s true that thicker filters do have benefits for your home, they’re not always the best choice. In this blog, our Palm Beach County HVAC experts will explain a few of the pros and cons regarding these filters.

Pro: They Improve Your Air Quality

A thicker air filter can and usually does improve your overall air quality. This isn’t a myth— the extra thickness and surface area means that this filter can strain more air and remove more debris from it at a time. This means better quality air with less dust and other airborne debris floating around, and that means healthier and better-quality air. That’s great news for anyone who suffers from the effects of poor air quality, including asthmatics or those who deal with allergies.

Con: They Consume More Energy

A thicker air filter strains more air, and that means the air needs more force to be pulled through the filter. Thus, thicker air filters actually cause your air conditioner and heater to consume more energy, which drives up your utility bills. This is especially true if you use a thicker filter that’s got a higher filtration rating—more filtration means better air, but less air passing through the filter, and that means more work for your HVAC system, and thus more energy consumed to heat or cool your home.

Pro: They Last Longer

Thicker air filters have a considerable amount of additional surface area which is used to filter out the air, and that means better filtration over a longer period of time. Whereas a one-inch filter of a certain size may need to be replaced every few months, a two-inch filter may last for a few additional months, and that means you’ll enjoy cleaner air for longer without the hassle of changing your filter all the time. This also helps to offset the fact that thicker air filters are usually more expensive than their thinner counterparts. So while you might invest more per filter, you’ll get more use out of each one.

Con: Your System May Not Be Able to Use Them

There’s another thing you need to be aware of—your HVAC system has to be capable of using a thicker air filter, and not all of them are. Some systems can use filters that are three or four inches thick, or even more. Some are limited to a one-inch filter, and some to no more than two. If your system isn’t rated for a thicker filter, don’t try to jam one in—you could break your system, and the extra thickness may not be something your system has the power to handle. This means you’ll place extra wear on important parts and drive up your energy costs.

If you need your heating and cooling system repaired, or you have questions on how you can improve your indoor air quality, call Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC at (561) 270-6181 today!