5 types of HVAC air filters

The air filters of your HVAC system have a very important role to play. Based on the HVAC system you use, the types of HVAC air filters also vary. But, irrespective of the type of air filter, the functioning of all of them is the same. They make the air you breathe clean by filtering out all the dust, dirt, pollen, and other small particles present in the air. This in turn reduces the pressure on the HVAC system, and thus increases its lifespan and improves its efficiency. 

The filters are required to be regularly cleaned and changed for better air quality, performance, and cost-saving. It is important to change your filters at least every 90 days or three months. Though, if you use your HVAC regularly and for longer periods, then you need to check the filter and change it more often, maybe even every month. Make sure to find the right replacement for your air filter, the one that properly fits with your HVAC system.

What are the 5 types of HVAC air filters available?

Choosing the right air filter for your HVAC system is an important decision to make. While choosing the right filter, you need to keep two things in mind i.e., your HVAC system’s specifications and the air quality you want in your home. There are 7 types of HVAC air filters for you to choose from. Make your final decision only after considering all your needs and requirements. 


Let us have a look at all the types of filters available.

  1. HEPA filters:

    HEPA or “High-efficiency particulate air” filters are randomly aligned fibers, made from either glass or synthetic. These filters are very effective in filtering out almost every size of the particle, even the nanoparticles. They are a very important part of air filters and are mostly used for medical purposes, high-tech industries, and commercial purposes as well. These filters are expensive and will require redesigning of duct-work if you want to use them for your home air conditioning. Therefore, HEPA filters are not commonly recommended for home use, but there are other filters that almost as effective as the actual HEPA filter. 

  2. UV lights filters:

    UV lights present in the HVAC filter make the air clean by removing allergens and microbes like bacteria, fungus, and mold from the air. Using the correct UV light spectrum is important to get the best air quality as not all UV lights are good for health. It is also important to consult an expert to install a UV light HVAC filter to avoid any problems and complications. Also, keep in mind to follow the safety guidelines that come with the UV light filters.

    Some UV light air filters:
    1. Air Purifier Whole House Uv Light in Duct for Hvac Ac (Air Conditioning) Duct Germicidal Filter + 2 replacement bulbs
    2. Original PURE AIR UV AIR Purifier Whole House Dual UV UVC Light in Duct for HVAC AC Duct GERMICIDAL Filter

  3. Electrostatic filters or washable filters or reusable filters:

    The functionality of electronic filters is the same as any other air filters. But these filters use electricity to remove dirt and debris from the air, even before they enter your home. These filters prove to be more beneficial than the other filters as you don’t need to change these every three months. These filters can be washed or cleaned and then reused for a longer period. They are made of specialized materials and a permanent aluminum frame. 



    Some recommended products:
    1. Trophy Air 20x25x1Pleated Electrostatic Air Filter Replacement | Washable | 6 Stage HVAC | Micro Allergen Defense, Healthier Home Environment | AC Furnace Air Filter Replacement | Made in the USA
    2. Air-Care 16x20x1 Silver Electrostatic Washable A/C Furnace Air Filter – Limited, Never Buy Another Filter!! – Made In the USA

  4. Fiberglass or spun glass filters:

    Fiberglass filters are made from spun glass and are encased in a cardboard frame. These are the one-inch blue filters that are inexpensive and easy to get. These filters are made for sturdy and economical performance and use. It is good only for capturing large particles from the air in your home. These filters are unable to filter out the smaller particles, thus it is not very healthy and effective, especially for asthma or allergies. Fiberglass filters are also known as “disposable” or “throwaway” filters as they clog up fast and thus need to be replaced around every 30 days. Whenever the filters clog, they put more pressure on the HVAC unit, affecting its efficiency. 


    Some examples of fiberglass or spun glass air filter:
    1. Flanders PrecisionAire 10155.011212 12 by 12 by 1 Flat Panel EZ Air Filter
    2. Purolator/Indigo Fiberglass Filter 20x20x1 (12 Pack)

  5. Pleated filters:

    These filters are made from either cotton or polyester in a folding pattern. The pleating increases the density and surface area of the filters, making it more effective in filtering out the dust and smaller particles such as mold spores, pollen, etc. The increased surface area helps these filters in collecting more dust particles than most of the other filters, without increasing the pressure and energy consumption for your HVAC unit. These filters are a bit more expensive than some of the other air filters. They can be used for up to three months, and need replacement after that. These filters are also known as media filters.


    Some recommended pleated air filters for you:
    1. AIRx Filters Allergy 16x25x1 Air Filter MERV 11 AC Furnace Pleated Air Filter Replacement Box of 6, Made in the USA
    2. Aerostar Allergen & Pet Dander 16 3/8×21 1/2×1 MERV 11 Pleated Air Filter, Made in the USA, (Actual Size: 16 3/8″x21 1/2″x3/4″), 6-Pack
    3. Aerostar Home Max 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter, Made in the USA, Captures Virus Particles, 6-Pack

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Before you choose anything to use or buy for your home, it is necessary to evaluate certain factors like its cost, efficiency, and compatibility. When you go for big appliances like HVAC, make sure that you are using the right parts as per your home and energy consumption. The air filters in HVAC are a very important part and they help keep the air in your home clean. Therefore, choosing the right filter is a necessary step. Consider all the factors before you make your decision about which filter you want for your HVAC unit.

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