Anybody who lives in a State that experiences warm weather throughout the year will be fully aware of how helpful an air conditioning system is.
On the hottest of days, an AC system can make your home a gentle reprieve from the toasty weather outside, and allow you to relax while you are at home.
That being said, AC systems do require a lot more effort than they might initially suggest. It is easy for the air that flows through your AC to become contaminated, and so filters have to be installed to block any unwanted and unhealthy particles in the air.
A popular option for this is vent filters, but how do they work? And how effective are they?
Today we’re answering all of these questions and more.
But, the quick answer to the question if vent filters really work, the short answer is yes. Vent filters do work, and they do fulfill their job of removing impurities from the air that enters your home through the central air system. However, they are more effective if HVAC filters are used as well.
Table of Contents
What is a Vent Filter?
Before we discuss whether or not they work, it’s important that we establish exactly what a vent filter is.
In short, vent filters are a small, soft piece of material that is designed to be placed within your air vent, be it duct vent or AC vent.
They are usually constructed with either foam, material, or fiber, and are stretchy enough to pull across the opening of an air vent but also have the ability to be cut to fit within the duct.
Once the filter has been fitted to your vent, you can then replace the grate over the air vent and the filter will get to work.
You might have heard of HVAC filters, and it can be incredibly easy to get these confused with vent filters.
HVAC filters are placed just outside of your home’s central air system to filter the air before it passes through the rest of your system. HVAC filters are proactive in filtering air, whereas vent filters act at the last minute.
If used in combination with one another this is a highly effective system as the air will be filtered twice before it enters into your home.
However, if used independently HVAC filters are more effective. This is because HVAC filters are applied close to the central air system so the air is filtered through before it travels to the different vents in your home.
Whereas, you will need to apply a vent filter to every vent in your home to get the same effect. Vent filters can be easily removed to retrieve any items that may have fallen within the vent which is convenient.
They will also require regular replacing in intervals as the filters will become clogged over time with the dust that they have removed from the air.
How Do Vent Filters Work?
We’ve already touched on this lightly, but let’s take a deeper look at how vent filters work.
Vent filters act as an extra level of protection to prevent impurities from entering the air you breathe through the central air system in your home.
While the air system itself will filter out a lot of these impurities, the vent filters work to make it even purer. Vent filters are attached to the vents of your air system externally and are stretched or cut to fit each vent.
They act as the last touchpoint before the air enters your home, and are the final opportunity to clean it before it enters into your breathing space.
Despite being placed externally, they are hidden from view as the grate of your air vent can be placed back onto the vent after the filter has been attached.
It might be hard to understand how a fabric as common as foam or fiber can effectively work to filter your air, but the process is actually simple. The air within the central air system is pushed so that it enters your home.
As it travels through the system it will be naturally filtered then, at the last minute, it encounters the vent filters. As the air is pushed through the system it will travel through the fabric that is blocking the vent.
While the air will be able to pass through the material, impurities such as dust, will not be able to. This means that only the air will be able to enter your home as the impurities have become trapped in the filter.
This occurs at every vent which has a filter, allowing the air that enters your home to be completely clean and healthy.
Do Vent Filters Work?
We know how vent filters work and operate, but the real question is ‘do they work?’.
Even though a system has a way that it should work, doesn’t mean that it is actually effective in its job. So how effective are vent filters?
The basic answer is yes, vent filters do work to a certain extent. They can remove impurities from your air system and will make the air that enters your home cleaner than it would be if you didn’t use vent filters.
However, in comparison to other types of filters, they really aren’t that effective. Filters are evaluated based on a MERV rating. This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values and measures the filter’s ability to capture larger particles.
It is rare for vent filters to even enter the MERV rating scale which proves how ineffective they are on their own. However, when used in combination with your HVAC filter they can provide cleaner air.
So the answer is yes, vent filters do work, however, they might not be the best option if you want very clean air.
Do I Need Vent Filters?
Vent filters have one main purpose, and that is to filter the air that travels through your central air system before it enters your home. However, since vent filters have started being used, other benefits have been observed.
For example, vent filters can trap anything that falls into the system through the holes in the grate. This prevents the lost item from entering the air system and makes it easier to retrieve as you simply have to remove the grate and it will be there.
They have also been proven effective in preventing the migration of insects and in stopping them from entering your home. So if you want vent filters for either of these purposes then yes, vent filters might be a good investment for you.
However, if you are looking to buy vent filters as a way to improve the quality of air, you might be better off considering other options before buying vent filters.
The most effective way to filter your air is through the HVAC filter system, so you might be better off considering altering this before you buy vent filters for every grate in your home.
HVAC filters come with different levels of MERV ratings so if you think that the quality of air in your home is not good enough, or you have observed a drop in performance you should consider replacing your HVAC filter before buying vent filters.
This might be more expensive, however, HVAC filters work at the source of the air so this is guaranteed to be a more effective way to get cleaner air into your home.
You may also prefer to replace your HVAC filter as when this requires replacing it will only need to be done in one place.
Whereas, if you use vent filters you will have to replace every single filter, which could be a lot if you have a large number of vents in your home.
In short, the answer is yes. Vent filters do work, and they do fulfill their job of removing impurities from the air that enters your home through the central air system.
However, they are not the most effective way to filter air.
While vent filters have lots of benefits, including protecting small items that fall through the grate from entering your air system and preventing bugs from entering your home through the vents, they aren’t the best option for air filtering.
If you feel that the air entering your home is not clean, you should check the HVAC filter before you install vent filters.
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