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What Are Electrostatic Air Filters and Should You Consider Using One In Your Heating or Air Conditioning Equipment

What Are Electrostatic Air Filters and Should You Consider Using One In Your Heating or Air Conditioning Equipment
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Electrostatic furnace filters are becoming very popular with home owners who want to achieve adequate air filtration and avoid using disposable filters. These air filters are designed to replace any type of panel filter or frame type air filter you currently use in your heating and air conditioning equipment.

Electrostatic furnace filters are a combination of mechanical air filtration and electrostatic filtration. Like the technology used in many of the air cleaners commonly sold today which remove dust particles from the air by using static electricity or electronic means.

Some of the Pros and Cons of Electrostatic Filters

No need to buy new filters because they are reusable.Must be removed and cleaned monthly.
They do an adequate job of air filtration.Not as efficient as most pleated filters.
Save money.Not ideal for those who suffer from allergies.
About as efficient as a pleated filter with a MERV 5 or 6 rating.Cheaper brands can have a negative impact of equipment performance.
BoAir are among the best electrostatic filters available and can be purchased on Amazon

Why Use Electrostatic Filters

When selecting a filter for your heating or cooling system it only makes sense to use the most efficient filter possible. An air conditioning or heating system operates best with no restriction to air flow. Adding a filter to to any HVAC system restricts this air flow and therefore can reduce the operating efficiency of the equipment.

The best furnace filter is the one that has the least effect on air flow but removes the most dust from the air. This is where the electrostatic furnace filter shines. They remove a high percentage of contaminants from the air but at the same time have little effect on air flow.

This allows the equipment to operate at maximum efficiency while at the same time removing a high percentage of contaminants from the air. So the best you can hope for is to strike a balance where you get the best air filtration but also don’t restrict airflow to the point where it begins to have a negative impact on the operating efficiency of the system.

The Best Air Filter For Home Use

Electrostatic furnace filters are not the most efficient filter you can get for your central air conditioner or furnace. But remember, you want to strike a balance between filter efficiency and equipment performance.

There are many furnace filters that are more efficient than electrostatic filters. The most common is the pleated air filter.

The BoAir 5 Stage electrostatic filter is one of the best electrostatic filter available. They have a lifetime warranty and never need to be replaced. They don’t contain polyester, which becomes difficult to clean over time. BoAir electrostatic filters are the only ones embedded with VIBAX MI-50, an anti-microbial which, limits and controls bacteria, mold, mildew, and helps control odor.

How Does An Electrostatic Air Filter Work

As air passes through electrostatic filters, a static charge is created within the filter, as a result of this static charge dust particles are attracted to the filter and remain trapped there until the filter is washed.

The air you breathe contains many allergens and irritants such as dust, bacteria, mold spores, pet dander, pollen and smoke. Most of these particles are smaller than one micron in size and will pass through cheaper furnace filter. When you install an electrostatic furnace filter the number of particles passing through your heating or cooling system and returning to your living space will be reduced.

An electrostatic air filter will save you hundreds of dollars by eliminating the monthly cost of purchasing disposable filters. Typical disposable fibreglass filters are only 5 – 10 percent efficient. The best electrostatic air filters may be as much as 90 percent efficient.

About the author: Don has been working in the HVAC industry for more than 25 years and shares his experience and knowledge on this site. If you find the information presented here helpful please share with your friends.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • EEKanzig

    Do I have to clean this expensive filter that I have had installed in my furnace;Thanks for the info. God Bless you all.

  • Don Munn

    Hi EEKanzig,
    All filters have to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Not performing maintenance or replacing filters when required will result in higher operating costs and reduced equipment efficiency.

  • Faith Stapleton

    I do not know whether to get a hepa or electrostatic replacement
    filter in the cold air return of my furnace located in the laundry room. I no longer have A/C but wish to replace the one I have neglected to wash and vac every month. It was a Newtron, physician suggested. Which would be the best filter for seriously ill person?
    thank you so much, fbs

    • Don Munn

      Hi Faith,

      I’m surprised to hear a physician recommended that you use an electrostatic filter. Although they do an adequate job they are far from the best filter for someone who requires very clean air. At best they compare to about a MERV 7 pleated filter. The biggest benefit of electrostatic filters is they are reusable, which is great for those who would like to save some money and don’t mind doing the necessary maintenance required to keep them clean. A HEPA filter is about the best filter available but one of the potential problems with them is they can restrict air flow and cause units to ice up and not perform properly. I would recommend using a pleated filter with a MERV 7 rating or higher. A filter with a MERV rating between 10 and 12 should be adequate and will do a much better job than an electrostatic filter.

  • ROB

    I really am annoyed with the Data you are reporting to the consumers here!! I have been
    making Electrostatic filters for 13 years and currently we have Merv 13 Filters for the HVAC
    I would appreciate you have your facts in order before stating incorrect information in reference
    to electrostatic pleated filters.

    • Don Munn

      Hey Rob,

      I’m wondering if you actually read the article or only scanned it. I’m talking about electrostatic filters not pleated electrostatic filters. If you have been making filters for 13 years then you should know the difference between the two. I believe some manufacturers are offering pleated electrostatic filters higher than MERV 13.

      However, I do know I’m not the best writer so I’ll try to improve the article so people such as yourself don’t get confused. For the record, I recommend pleated electrostatic filters and electrostatic filters. Both have their place in the market and both have advantages and disadvantages. The article is intended to illustrate the differences between them.

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