Pleated air filters are more popular than ever, which is why we’re writing this article to help you figure out which type of filter is the best for your home. As you know, both pleated and fiberglass filters can be found at hardware stores everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same. Let’s explore how each filter works, its pros and cons, and what you should know before making a purchase!
Pleated Air Filters
Pleated air filters are known for their high efficiency, low-pressure drop, and long service life. The pleats on these filters increase the surface area of the filter media exposed to airflow, which helps catch more dirt particles as they pass through. If you want to see which filter size you need, you can check different sizes at filterbuy.com. Additionally, because pleats can be made at angles to fit inside your HVAC application’s frame geometry, the pleat structure is extremely versatile so you can choose a filter that meets your performance requirements. Pleated air filters are great for use in cold climates where ductwork is exposed to cold temperatures – fiberglass filters tend to lose their effectiveness when exposed to sub-freezing conditions due to moisture collection between pleats.
Fiberglass Air Filters
Fiberglass air filters are a great choice if you’re on a tight budget. While they aren’t as efficient or long-lasting as pleated filters, fiberglass filters do have some benefits over their pleated counterparts. Fiberglass is naturally hydrophobic, which means it will resist absorbing moisture from the air and won’t freeze up in cold weather. They also tend to be more durable than pleated filters – while both types of filter media use fibers woven together to form a mesh, fiberglass uses very small fibers that result in smoother surfaces and less shedding of fibers into your HVAC system’s airstream.
Pleated Filter Pros & Cons
The pros of pleated air filters include high airflow efficiency compared to other filter types. Pleated filters have a pressure drop of less than 0.5″ wg in normal conditions, which means they won’t needlessly restrict the airflow through your ductwork. Low life cycle cost because pleated filters last longer and require less maintenance due to their high airflow efficiency, which reduces strain on your HVAC system. The ability to fit into more narrow housings than fiberglass filters because of their unique pleat structure, allows you to fine-tune the filter media to your application’s geometry. Ability to be used in sub-freezing conditions without sacrificing filter performance due to its hydrophobic properties.
The cons of pleated filters include high-pressure drop when used in very restrictive housings, such as louvered grilles and registers. Because of their strict requirements for installation geometry – which will vary according to the application – pleated filters may not be able to fit properly into all your HVAC system’s components because of space constraints.
Fiberglass Filter Pros & Cons
The pros of fiberglass air filters include high airflow efficiency compared to other filter types, which means you won’t needlessly restrict the airflow through your ductwork. The low-pressure drop of around 0.5″ wg, makes them a great choice for use with variable-speed HVAC systems that rely on inlet guide vanes or other components to regulate airflow. Low life cycle cost because fiberglass filters last longer and require less maintenance than pleated filters, which reduces strain on your HVAC system.
The cons of fiberglass air filters include high-pressure drop, which means you’ll needlessly restrict the airflow through your ductwork when using these types of filters in very restrictive housings. Fiberglass filters tend to be more expensive than pleated filters, which can increase your total cost of ownership. Perforations in the fiberglass media are likely to clog up with dust at some point, requiring you to open up your HVAC system and clean out the screen – this will add labor costs to maintaining these filters.
There are both pros and cons to using pleated air filters over fiberglass filters. The best way to figure out which one is right for your application is by analyzing your airflow requirements based on the design of your HVAC system. If you have a very restrictive housing that requires high pressures to drive airflow through it with minimal strain, then fiberglass filters with their lower pressure drop might be the way to go.
If your housings aren’t too restrictive or if you want to keep operating costs down long term with minimal maintenance, then use pleated filters because they’ll give you optimum performance with high efficiencies at low-pressure drops. Fiberglass filter media may not be able to survive sub-freezing temperatures without damage, which can be a problem if you operate in a climate where the temperature often falls below freezing.