The air in your home is a big deal. It affects your indoor air quality and the health of you and your family. In fact, according to the EPA, indoor air pollution can be up to 100 times worse than outdoor air pollution. If you want to breathe clean air and keep yourself healthy, it’s time to start paying attention to the different types of air filters in your home.
In this post from AirPro Mechanical Services, we’ll go over why clean air is so important and break down each of the different types of air filters in your home: furnace filters, whole house filtration systems (including back washable filters), water filtration systems (including carbon filters), UV light filtration systems, portable HEPA filtration systems and HVAC-based purification systems (including electronic purifiers). We’ll also look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of filter so you can decide which one(s) are right for you.
Air Intake Filter
Air intake filters are seldom used in residential homes, but they certainly can be. Air intake filters are most often found on the outdoor unit of a heat pump or central air conditioning system. They’re much more common in commercial buildings than in residences, where indoor air quality is less of a concern.
These types of filters are typically only used when outdoor air is so dirty that it needs to be filtered before entering the HVAC system’s outdoor unit. This might be the case if you live near a construction site or busy thoroughfare, for example.
Furnace Filter or Return-Air Filter
Return-air filters should be changed every one to three months, or more often if you have pets or allergies. Your filter should be inspected and changed regularly. If it is clogged with dust, dirt and other contaminants, your system will have to work harder to move air through it, resulting in inefficiency and an increased energy bill. It’s important to understand that not all filters are created equal. Some provide a higher level of filtration than others, which can help improve the air quality in your home.
There are many different types of furnace filters available on the market today—and it’s helpful to know how they differ from each other so you can choose the right one for your needs.
Electronic Air Cleaner
Electronic air cleaners, also known as electrostatic precipitators, work by charging airborne particles as they pass through the machine. The charged particles are then collected on a set of oppositely charged collector plates. Unlike true HEPA filters, electronic filters do not have to trap 99.97% of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns in diameter—they only need to be proven effective at improving indoor air quality according to ENERGY STAR standards.
Unlike other types of filters that need to be regularly replaced, electronic air cleaners don’t require changing the filter. Instead, the collector plates must be washed periodically with water and an alkaline solution to remove any dirt buildup and restore their electrical charge so they can continue collecting dust effectively. How often you’ll need to wash them depends on how large your unit is and how many contaminants it’s capturing every day—your owner’s manual will give recommendations for cleaning frequency that you can follow for best results (or talk with your local HVAC professional about maintenance plans).
UV Filtration Systems
Another type of air filter is a UV filtration system, which does not use fiber media to trap particles from the air, but rather uses ultraviolet light to kill mold spores and other airborne microorganisms. UV filtration systems are installed in the ductwork of your HVAC system. They are effective at killing 99% of airborne germs and microorganisms that pass through your ductwork on a daily basis.