How often should you change your HVAC filter? Replacement is recommended every 3 months to facilitate optimum performance. But what are the different types of HVAC filters and which is best for your home’s needs? While fiberglass filters are inexpensive and readily available, electrostatic filters can best filter allergens. Learn what distinguishes different filter types and how to make the best choice for your system.
Types of HVAC Filters and How They Work
How many types of HVAC filters are there? Pleated, fiberglass and electrostatic filters are the three main types, some of which include additional options. We’ll review different types of HVAC filters, their pros and cons and how they improve your system’s function and home air quality.
Of the three main HVAC filter types, fiberglass filters are the most affordable and widely available. These disposable filters are made of strands of fiberglass strung together, stopping large particles of lint and dust from clogging your HVAC system. However, this is the beginning and end of their function; fiberglass filters don’t screen out allergens or cleanse the air of smaller particles.
Main benefit: Commonly affordable and available, screens out large particles of debris.
Price range: $5-$10 per filter
An advancement in quality from fiberglass filters, the tight weave of pleated filters enables them to capture smaller particles that fiberglass filters can’t. Unlike fiberglass filters, their pleated pattern can also catch dust mites and pet dander, helping allergy sufferers.
These types of HVAC filters come in disposable and washable options, as well as high-efficiency designs of pleated cotton on a metal grid. These high-efficiency models are effective enough to be used in hospitals and are helpful for people with autoimmune and respiratory conditions. But pleated filters do have some downsides, specifically regarding your system’s efficiency.
Cons of pleated filters:
- Expense: Slightly more expensive than fiberglass filters, though still highly affordable.
- Decreases efficiency: Your HVAC system must work harder to pull air through a pleated filter.
- Universality: Not every home HVAC system can accommodate a high-efficiency filter, requiring costly upgrades if they’re needed.
Main benefits: An affordable and widely available filter option for allergy sufferers
Price range: $29-$58 for a pack of 4
Of the three types of HVAC filters, electrostatic filters are the best at screening out allergens. Composed of cotton and paper fibers that generate a static charge, this ability enables them to attract and capture even the smallest particles. Available in both disposable and washable permanent options, electrostatic filters are ideal for homes with smokers or pets. However, while many are generally affordable, custom sizes can get pricey.
Main benefits: The best option for allergen removal.
Price range: $35-$40 for a 2 pack of disposal filters