Are Pleated Air Filters Bad for Your HVAC System?

Pleated filters can be harmful to your HVAC system if they are not changed regularly. They can block too much air, forcing the engine to work harder and burn faster. If left unchanged for two years, they can clog with contaminants and reduce air flow to zero. However, if replaced at the appropriate interval, pleated filters can be very efficient and durable.

They generally have MERV ratings of 5 to 12 and have a much longer lifespan compared to their counterparts. Pleated filters are also great for indoor air quality, as they capture a lot of contaminants. The downside is that they restrict air flow to the fan or oven, making it work harder and reducing efficiency. This can also cause liquid to re-enter the compressor, leading to premature equipment failure.

Many people opt for pleatless filters instead, as they offer the perfect balance of airflow and filtration configuration. However, these filters are not as tough or built to last long. Accumulation in the material can reduce efficiency, allowing dirt and other particles to pass through the filter and accumulate in the equipment or be released back into the air. The most common system for measuring the filtration capacity of an air filter is known as a MERV, or minimum efficiency report value.

Low MERV filters filter relatively few particles compared to high MERV filters. The components of an HVAC system have improved in construction and durability over time, while the construction of pleated air filters has improved to maintain high levels of filtration and minimize pressure drops. Assuming an eight-year lifespan for your HVAC system, with identical use and no external factors, you would have to replace the fan motor of your HVAC system about 3 months earlier with a pleated filter than with a fiberglass filter. By using services like Second Nature, homeowners can make sure they change their filters on time and avoid any HVAC problems caused by clogged air filters.