Home Improvements

What Are The Types Of Heat Pump Air Filters?

The heat pump in your house is the only thing keeping you and your family members cozy and comfortable. At the same time, the warm air distributed inside the house should be good quality and contaminant-free. That is only possible if you have installed the correct type of air filter for your HVAC system. Delaying air filter cleaning or replacement can cause problem and lead to expensive heat pump repairs.

Considering the air filters options out there, it might seem difficult to choose the right one. So, here are some tips to help you out with the process.

Types Of Heat Pump Air Filters

Fiberglass Or Spun Glass Air Filters

Fiberglass or spun glass air filters are also known as flat-paneled filters consisting of glass strands that are spun together and reinforced using a metal grate. Although, they appear to be glass strands but are made of fiber. These types of air filters are the most common due to their reasonable cost.

Fiberglass filters have been around for a while and some manufacturers and companies still use them for their heat pumps. Although, they are easy on the pocket but do not do much to filter the air. It is estimated that fiberglass filters only filter about 20% of the particles in the air.

Plus, they are only able to stop particles that are around 3.0-10.0 microns such as carpet fibers, dust, and pollen. This means they are not able to stop particles that are extremely fine. Considering fiberglass filters can only trap debris, they tend to become easily clogged and need regular maintenance and replacement.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters are filters made using a fabric such as cotton or polyester. There are folds of cotton of polyester which help in increasing the surface area of the air filter. This means the filters with more pleats tend to possess greater capability to trap contaminants as compared to those that have relatively less.

Since they are more effective in filtering the particles than the fiberglass filters, pleated filters are slightly more expensive as well. Plus, you can buy washable or disposable pleated air filters.

On the flip side, pleated filters can also restrict the airflow, which is not a good deal for someone looking for the best air filter type.

HEPA Filters

HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate air filters are one of the best types out there. These air filters are very efficient and can remove up to 99.7% of pollutants and contaminants in the air. This includes smoke particles, pet dander, etc. Considering their excellent ability to trap contaminants, these filters are usually preferred by people who have allergies or any respiratory condition.

At the same time, HEPA filters cost more than both Fiberglass and Pleated filters combined. These filters also carry quality ratings, which helps customers distinguish and decide between different HEPA filters. If your heat pump already has one and needs replacement, you should consult the user manual or contact the manufacturer.

UV Light Filters

UV light filters as the term suggests are filters that utilize UV light to kill bacteria and other harmful factors. These filters disinfect the air as the germicidal radiation from the UV lamp passes through it. UV light filters are very effective against microorganisms such as mold spores.

That said, if you have kids or the elderly in the house who are sensitive to such factors, you should opt for UV light air filters, leaving no chance of contaminated air making its way inside the house. However, there are some downsides as well.

UV light filters use UV rays so they can convert oxygen molecules into ozone molecules. If inhaled in small amounts, ozone can have minor effects on health such as chest pain and coughing. But if the amount is significant, it can cause respiratory problems like asthma.

And, while UV light filters do a great job of disinfecting the air, they are pretty much useless when it comes to trapping dust. As a result, they are used with other air filters such as HEPA filters.

Media Filters

Media filters consist of paper-like folded material contained inside a metal cabinet. When installed, the filter looks no wider than 6 inches but when unfolded can extend to 75 square feet. This impressive surface area allows the filters to be around seven times more effective than the regular filters.

In addition to that, the extended surface area also helps the filters improve their lifespan. As a result, media filters can last for around 2 years depending on the maintenance. However, these filters require an expert to install them. Other air filters can be installed by the homeowners themselves, but media filters should only be handled by professionals from HVAC companies Tyson’s Corner.

Electrostatic Filters

Then again, as the term suggests, Electrostatic filters produce static electricity by using a combination of paper and cotton fibers. This static charge acts like a magnet and traps pollutants within the air. Since these filters specifically help keep allergens away, they are great for people who suffer from allergies.

Furthermore, these filters can also come with a carbon filter for improved air filtration. Plus, they are also available in both washable and disposable versions. Electrostatic filters can stop smaller particles but fail against larger particles like dust or mold spores.

Washable Filters

Washable filters are one of the most common types. These filters are also available in pleated and flat-paneled kinds. When compared to disposable filters, these filters cost more but help save replacement costs in the long run. Moreover, they are also relatively more environmentally friendly.

Washable HVAC filters are easy to maintain as well and they simply need a quick wash or vacuum to remove all the dust and dirt. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the filters should be properly dried before installing in the unit. Using damp filters will lead to mold and bacteria buildup.

When To Replace Heat Pump Air Filters?

Air filters like the heat pump itself need regular maintenance and cleaning. It might be that some filters are not washable and will only need replacement. However, the frequency of the maintenance depends on the usage frequency along with other external factors.

If you live in a region or a state that has relatively more dust and dirt, the maintenance frequency will automatically increase. The best way to know when to replace air filters is by consulting the user manual. Depending on the manufacturer and model of the heat pump, the replacement and maintenance interval might vary.

In addition to that, replacing the air filters is easy for most heat pumps as well. Unless the filters are easy to install, you should hire an expert if the installed process is looks difficult or you have bought media filters. However, in usual cases, all you need to do is access the air filters, clean them, and re-install them.


In conclusion, opting for the best type of heat pump air filter depends on the purpose you intend to seek. You should also make sure the air filter is the right type recommended by the manufacturer and appropriate for the heat pump. And, also ensure the filters are regularly cleaned (if they are washable) to not only prolong the unit’s life but also prevent health complications. And if your heat pump shows any signs of trouble, consult heat pump repair services McLean.

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