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How Do Whole House AC Filters Work Inside Your Home?

whole house AC FiltersEver heard that term “whole house AC filters”? And if you have, do you know what it means? Read on to clear up the mystery of how supersized, high-performance whole house AC filters work.

What Are Whole House AC Filters?

First, let’s talk about what they aren’t. Namely, the 1-inch air filter you change every month or every three months, depending on how good the quality is. A whole-house air filter is much more substantial than the 1-inch models. There can be some confusion about what is meant by a “whole house air filter,” but generally, it is a very dense filter that has to be professionally installed in the ductwork rather than near the air handler. It may cost $50 to $60 and should be good for up to six months, depending on the conditions in your home. Do you have shedding pets and lots of dust? You may need to change it more often.

HVAC pros might also refer to an extended media filter as a whole-house filter. It looks like a stack of furnace filters (about 4 inches thick), with accordion-like layers of filtration media. They are more effective than fiberglass filters, but they must be installed in ductwork by professionals at a cost of $400 to $600. Filters, at a cost of $40 to $60 each, should be changed yearly. Again, if you have dusty conditions or shedding pets, your filter will have to be changed more often.

Another type of whole-house filter is the electrostatic precipitator, which also must be installed in the ductwork. They are filters, but they also are akin to air purifiers. They use an electrical charge to zap particles as return air passes through. The particles land on oppositely charged collector plates. The plates must be cleaned, but they don’t need replacing. (Electrostatic precipitators are highly recommended for removing particles generated by tobacco fumes.)

So, you either have a whole-house air filter or you don’t. If you want one, you’ll need to hire an HVAC pro to install it for you.

For more information on whole-house AC filters, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.