What is a Whole House Air Filter?

Malcolm Tatum

The whole house air filter is a filter designed for use in whole house air cleaner systems. Filters of this type help to catch and remove contaminants from the air inside the home, helping to make the living quarters healthier for the residents. There are several different designs for the filters, with some constructed for use in different types of filtration systems, and others created for use in specific brands of air cleaning equipment.

An air filter.
An air filter.

The typical whole house air filter is constructed as a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter. This means that the filter is capable of catching particles that would slip through other forms of filters. As a result, this type of air filter has an average efficiency of 99.97% when it comes to trapping all sorts of contaminants in the air circulating through the home.

HEPA filters can be beneficial for allergy sufferers.
HEPA filters can be beneficial for allergy sufferers.

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A whole house air filter can be used as part of a stand-alone system, or be utilized as the filter of choice in a general heating and cooling system. In either case, the filter is capable of filtering out smoke from tobacco products, pollens, pet dander, and other types of bacteria and allergens. When the filter is working at top efficiency, the air in the home is fresher and cleaner. This means that residents are less likely to breathe in contaminants that often lead to the development of different health issues.

Most systems that utilize a whole house air filter are designed to make the process of changing out the filter a relatively easy task. Most can be accessed by simply opening a chamber in the heating and cooling system, extracting the old filter, and sliding a new filter in place. Manufacturers of different air filtration systems normally include guidelines on how often to replace the filter, as well as step by step instructions on how to go about the replacement process.

While many people believe that a whole house air filter will keep the home free of the majority of contaminants, there are others who claim this type of filter is no more effective than other filter options. Testing in a variety of different environments indicate that a whole house air filter does outperform some other types of filters in particular settings, while the level of efficiency is similar to that of other filters in different situations. Consumers should evaluate the quality of the air in their homes and determine if a whole house air filter is likely to significantly enhance air quality within their living spaces.

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