7 Types of Air Filtration System for Homes and How They Work

7 Types of Air Filtration System for Homes and How They Work

Home air filters ensure indoor air quality at home. Different units can use different air filtration systems; some may even have multiple filters. However, with many available options in the market, picking the perfect filtration system is challenging. Want to know what type of system would work best for your home?

In this article, you will get your answers and expand your knowledge. You will learn how they work and discover all the filtration system types you can choose from. This way, you can easily determine how they can be useful in deciding which air filtration system is best for your home.


What Are Air Filtration Systems?

Air filtration systems are a set of air filters used to improve and maintain indoor air quality in homes. These integrated filters are used with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. They filter and remove harmful air particles in every room. This reduces the amount of these particles that go inside and through your HVAC system.

HVAC systems go through almost every room in the house. The filters stop harmful particles in the air from moving from one room to another. Also, when there's less dust and other big particles gathered, your HVAC units can keep working well and efficiently for a long while.


7 Main Types of Air Filtration Systems

The type of air filtration system is solely based on the filter it uses. There are seven main types of air filters, including:


Up to 99.97% of air particles are removed by high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA), especially allergens. These include dust, bacteria, mold spores, viruses, pollen, and airborne particles. This makes them a popular choice for people with allergies or other respiratory issues.

They are cost-effective since they will only be replaced every few years. However, note that this type is usually more expensive than the others, such as pleated filters and fiberglass. HEPA filters have numerous fibrous mesh materials that trap the particles.

The air passes through the entire filtration system. Particles of various sizes are filtered through different mechanisms of the mesh material. The larger particles are the first ones absorbed. As the air continues to flow through the system, the dense arrangement of fibers will continue to trap and absorb particles. This process decreases the size of the trapped particles, reaching as small as 0.3 microns (µm).

2. Spun Glass

These are made of strands of fiberglass that are spun together and reinforced by metal grates. Spun glass filters are also known as flat-paneled filters. This type is the most common for HVAC systems because of its affordability. So, flat-paneled filters would be a good option if you’re working on a tight budget.

These filters can improve air quality by trapping air particles, especially larger ones with 3 to 10 microns. These include dust, pollen, or carpet fibers. However, they can’t remove smaller particles like other smaller allergens. Despite this, you can use this system to keep dust and lint out of your home.

3. Pleated

This type uses either polyester fabrics or cotton, which are arranged into folds to increase the surface area of the filter. Like the spun glass filter, these pleats are more effective than non-pleated types. This implies that filters of this type with more pleats are more efficient at capturing particles.

They can even catch tricky allergens and pollutants like mold spores, pet dander, and pollen. However, using them will mean your HVAC system has to work more to draw air through it. This is because this type is less resistant to airflow. Pleated filters tend to be slightly pricier compared to other choices like fiberglass filters.

4. Ultraviolet

This uses short-wave UV light. The germicidal radiation from the light works best on microscopic organisms. When the air passes through the system, the UV lamps disinfect the air with radiation. This also allows them to kill bacteria and viruses in the air, not just common allergens and pollutants. This is why it’s also popular when it comes to air purifiers.

However, there are drawbacks to using ultraviolet filters. They might change oxygen into ozone, which could lead to health issues like coughing and chest pain. They can be pretty costly as well. Also, some smaller particles, such as smoke and fumes, can still pass through the system. This is why they’re often combined with other types, especially HEPA filters.

5. Electrostatic

This type uses a mixture of cotton and paper fibers to create static electricity. This static acts like a magnet for airborne particles, trapping them within the filter system. This type is effective in keeping allergens from spreading in your home. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can get them in disposable or reusable versions.

Plus, some systems of this type often have carbon filters to improve efficiency. However, take note that this type is more effective for smaller particles. It might be less effective for larger ones, like dust and mold spores. 

6. Washable 

This type of system is available in other forms, like pleated and flat-paneled ones. Washable Filters are the most commonly known environmentally friendly system. Moreover, a washable filter would suffice if you don't specifically require a filter that targets a particular type of airborne particle.

It can keep your air generally clean. However, you’d need to check and clean this system regularly. You must also ensure it’s dry to prevent mold and mildew development.

7. Media

Media filtration systems have paper-like materials folded inside a metal cabinet. These materials can be as large as 75 square feet when unfolded. This gives the system a large surface area to capture air particles. It’s great for filtering bacteria and other small pollutants.

It works by sealing the filtered particles into the filter so they don’t get expelled back into your indoor air as the air flows through the system. Filter replacement may only be necessary every two years depending on the setting. Additionally, they are considered one of the more durable filter choices.



The best air filtration system for home depends on your circumstances, goals, budget, and preferences. Remember to consider your health conditions and current indoor air quality. Make sure to weigh each type and how they work to determine which would work best for you and your family. If you want to check out some actual products, you can visit our air filtration collection.