An Alexandria, VA Homeowner’s Guide to Different Types of HVAC Filters

Central HVAC systems are exceptionally convenient for homes in areas such as Alexandria, VA that experience both sweltering summers and below-freezing winters. In order to keep the frequently used blower mechanism free of debris and to keep allergens from affecting your indoor air quality, your HVAC system has a filter. During heating and cooling season you may need to change this filter as often as once a month. When purchasing HVAC filters for your Alexandria home, you have several options which are outlined below.

Fiberglass Filters
This is the least expensive and most common type of filter. These filters consist of a collection of long, thin threads of spun fiberglass mounted in simple cardboard frames. Fiberglass filters are only designed to keep larger clumps of dirt and hair out of the blowers in your furnace and air conditioner—smaller particles simply pass right through the filter. If you don’t suffer from allergies, a fiberglass filter may be more than adequate for your needs.

Pleated Filters
Pleated filters made from cotton or synthetic fibers can trap very fine particles that would simply bypass a fiberglass filter. The pleated design increases the filter’s surface area, which allows it to catch more contaminants without impeding airflow. Because these filters are much finer than fiberglass filters, they can become clogged more quickly, which can hamper your system’s effectiveness. Check pleated filters every three to four weeks in the summer and the winter, and replace them when they appear dirty.

Electrostatic Filters
These filters carry a charge that attracts certain types of microscopic particles, which then cling to the filter’s fibers. Some types of electrostatic filter are reusable, which means that you can vacuum off the dust and rinse them with a hose. Reusable electrostatic filters, while more expensive than other models, save money in the long run because they only need to be replaced once every few years.

Hospital-Grade Filters
These are the types of filters that operating rooms and hospitals use to make sure that the air is as free of bacteria and viruses as it possibly can be. If you or someone in your home suffers from chronic asthma or is especially vulnerable to respiratory problems, speak with a contractor about installing a hospital grade filter in your home. Because they are significantly thicker, these filters cannot be installed in standard HVAC units.

Do you have any questions regarding furnace filters? Call McCarthy at (703) 253-7469 or schedule an appointment online today!

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