Types of HVAC Filters

Every HVAC system across the country has one thing in common: the need for a filter. Regardless of its age, Energy Star rating, or where it’s located, HVAC filters serve several important jobs in your system’s functionality. Are all HVAC filters made the same? Can you reuse them? And how many different types of HVAC filters are there exactly? Let’s tackle each of those questions and more by examining four different types of HVAC filters.

HVAC Filters for your air conditioning unit

If you have what is commonly known as a “window shaker” style of air conditioning versus a central air unit, you’ll likely have a filter on. These filters don’t have an official name but are generally made of bendable plastic. You can also wash these off, keeping the same filter for the entire life of your AC unit.

However, these types of filters do a poor job at filtering smaller particles. On the upside, if you somehow damage them, they’re cheap and easy to replace.

Electrostatic Air Filter

Have you ever been sitting in your house and hear a random zap, almost like an old school bug zapper? Yet, this sound is coming from your basement and you know you don’t have a bug light down there. What’s going on? That’s your electrostatic air filter at work. These are designed to clean the air circulating through your system up to MERV15. First, dirty air passes through a pre-filter, possibly even a HEPA filter which we’ll talk about next. An ionizer positively charges whatever makes it through the first filter. Next, a negatively charged plate retains these particles so that only clean air circulates into your home. These filters are washable, though the pre-filters are often a single use fiberglass setup. Electrostatic air filters are common in commercial setups, though more and more homeowners are adding them when they install a new furnace system.

HEPA filters

A HEPA filter has the highest-rated filtration grade, typically between MERV17 to MERV20. These are often made of fiberglass and are one time use. They may look washable, but the reality is they can carry harmful bacteria and viruses. They should be disposed of carefully in a commercial setting. At home, a pair of gloves and a disposable mask should be sufficient when replacing them.

Disposable filters

Most homeowners are familiar with this type of HVAC filter. They’re also made of fiberglass, like HEPA filters, but have a much lower MERV rating — usually no higher than 4. They can trap approximately 20% of inbound particles, though when used with in an electrostatic setup as we described above you can have a very effective filtration system. These filters are single use as well and should be replaced every three months.

We’re here to answer your HVAC filter questions

Are you interested in upgrading your current HVAC filtration system? Have you been experiencing problems with your electrostatic air filter and need assistance? Or do you have general questions about the types of HVAC filters for your home?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, give us a call: (801) 980-0903. We’ll schedule a time to go over your concerns and find out how we can help

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