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What Are the Different Types of HVAC Filters?

What Are the Different Types of HVAC Filters?Photo from Kaiser Air Conditioning

Originally Posted On: What Are the Different Types of HVAC Filters? – Kaiser Air Conditioning (


HVAC filters contribute to the indoor quality of your home. They trap or filter debris, pet dander, pollen and other airborne contaminants. Filters prevent airborne allergens from spreading into your home.

Below are 7 HVAC filter types you need to know. Read the pros and cons to help you decide which filter you should use for your HVAC system.


HEPA Filters

Homeowners who want the best from their HVAC systems may consider getting high-efficiency particulate air filters or HEPA filters as it can remove nearly 100% of airborne allergens and contaminants. With a MERV rating of 16, your home is fully protected with this filter. Expect cleaner indoor air when using HEPA. This type of filter is highly recommended by the US Department of Health as it’s highly effective in trapping allergens. If you live with someone who has health issues, HEPA filters would be one of the best options. 


It can capture even the smallest pollutants in the air. Unlike most filters, you only need to change this every few years.


One downside is it can’t get rid of gasses, fumes and other odors. Also, mold spores may build up on the filter, affecting its efficiency.


Washable Filters

Washable filters may be more expensive than others but it’s cost-effective in the long run as you can reuse them after washing. For this filter to work efficiently, it’s essential that you properly maintain it. Ideally, you need to clean this filter every 2 to 3 months. Always follow manufacturer instructions on how to maintain this. Make sure it’s fully dry before putting it back on.


So long as you properly maintain this filter, there is no need to buy another one. You can use this for the entire lifespan of your system.


It has a low MERV rating but it will suffice especially for homeowners who are not looking for specialty filters.


Media Filters

The best filters aren’t always those with a high MERV rating. Media filters work just the same but it’s better as it doesn’t have any negative effects. It’s excellent at filtering and keeping the dirt inside, preventing it from spreading in your home. Like high-MERV filters, media filters are quite effective at killing even smaller airborne contaminants.


Great at trapping allergens into the filter. Require little maintenance which makes them one of the best options in the market.


It can’t filter bad odors. Make sure that you work only with professional installers when you get this type of filter.


UV Filters

Bacteria and viruses can’t survive with the UV filter’s ultraviolet light. It’s also highly effective at eliminating mold spores. However, it may not completely get rid of dust. UV filters have UV lamps equipped with germicidal radiation for purifying the air and the bulb needs to be changed annually.


Effective at removing germs and mold in the air. You get good air quality with UV filters.


Installation is a little costly. UV filters are unable to eliminate allergens, dust, fumes and cigarette smoke. It may also transform oxygen into ozone which can lead to having respiratory illnesses. Always contact a professional before installing this filter. A technician should be able to give you more information about its potential dangers.


Pleated Filters

Pleated filters vary in the type of materials used and their MERV rating. This type of filter is made with either cotton folds or polyester fabric, and the MERV rating is between 5 and 13. It’s one of the best solutions for catching debris; it can even trap mold spores and pet dander when it has more pleats. One advantage of installing pleated filters is their ability to stop HVAC noises.


Pleated filters with a larger surface area are more effective at catching debris. They come in both reusable and disposable format.


More expensive than other common HVAC filters. Your HVAC may work harder to pull more air. Not ideal if you want to save more energy.


Spun Glass Filters

Disposable spun glass filters are affordable and good at protecting your HVAC from debris. If you’re the type of homeowner who does not have any filter preference but wants something cost-effective, then this is one of the best options for you.


Very affordable and good at catching dust and other debris.


It may not improve your indoor quality as it’s not very effective in catching allergens and other airborne contaminants. Spun glass filters are not for people with respiratory issues.


Electrostatic Filters

To prevent airborne contaminants from spreading indoors, this type of filter uses an electrostatic charge for attracting airborne allergens or dust. The components in the filter make a strong magnet that is effective at getting rid of allergens in the air. Using this is cost-effective as you can either reuse them or dispose of them.


Ideal for homeowners looking for a more cost-effective option for their HVAC filters. You’ll never have to worry about the quality of your indoor air with the filter’s electrostatic magnets.


This can’t filter dust and mold spores. Not ideal for people with respiratory problems.


Which Filter Should I Get For My HVAC?

With the types of air filters available in the market, it can be difficult to choose which is suitable for your system. To help you decide, find out what your needs are. If you have mold allergies, you need a filter that can effectively trap mold spores. If you want the best, we would recommend an energy-efficient filter so you get more savings. Homeowners who do not have any preference and just want something cheap may go with the more affordable options. A washable filter’s initial cost may be a little expensive but you get to save money in the long run. If you still can’t decide which one to acquire for your home in Ventura County, CA, contact us so we can help.

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