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Understanding Different Types of Filters in Commercial HVAC Systems

HEPA carbon air purifier filter close up, replacement filter for air purifier.

Many of us are familiar with the use of commercial HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems but don’t give much thought to how we can keep them running effectively. A lot of effort by many people goes into supplying and maintaining them. One of the major ways this gets accomplished is through the use of filters in the system to maintain air quality as it is transported through ductwork throughout a building for occupant comfort, as well as the protection and longevity of the equipment in your HVAC system. Burban Air Systems Ltd wants to help you to achieve these goals. We are going to show you what kinds of filters are available in commercial HVAC applications, what the benefits are of each, and how using the right filters will help optimize the performance and extend the life of the HVAC equipment serving your facility.

Fiberglass Filters


Fiberglass filters are among the least expensive and simplest types of HVAC filtration available, consisting of a flat panel of imbricated fibreglass fibre.


  • Cost-effective

  • Protects HVAC systems by trapping large particles like dust and debris


  • Lower filtration efficiency

  • Needs frequent replacement

Pleated Filters


Pleated filters consist of paper sheets made from cotton or polyester, which are shaped into pleats to increase the surface area for trapping airborne particles.


  • Higher efficiency compared to fiberglass filters

  • Longer lifespan due to increased surface area

  • Can trap smaller particles, including some allergens


  • Slightly higher cost than fiberglass filters

  • Increased airflow resistance can put a strain on some HVAC systems

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters


HEPA filters (that is, high-efficiency particulate air filters) clear 99.97 per cent of airborne particles of 0.3 microns or more.


  • Exceptional air purification, removing dust, pollen, mold spores, and other airborne contaminants

  • Essential in environments requiring stringent air quality, such as hospitals and laboratories


  • Higher initial cost

  • Requires HVAC systems with adequate power to handle increased resistance

Electrostatic Filters


Electrostatic arrester filters capture particles by static electricity. Electrostatic arrester filters can be of two types, disposable or washable.


  • Effective at capturing small particles

  • Reusable versions are cost-effective in the long term

  • Can improve indoor air quality significantly


  • Higher upfront cost for reusable models

  • Requires regular cleaning and maintenance to maintain efficiency

Activated Carbon Filters


Odours and gaseous contaminants are caught by activated carbon filters through the process of adsorption.


  • Excellent at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and unpleasant odours

  • Enhances indoor air quality by trapping gases and chemical fumes


  • Not as effective at capturing larger particulate matter

  • Often used in combination with other types of filters for comprehensive air filtration

UV Filters


These UV filters shine ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses and mould spores circulating in the air stream of the HVAC system.


  • Provides sterilization, reducing microbial contamination

  • Improves overall indoor air quality and health safety


  • Does not capture particulate matter

  • Requires periodic replacement of UV bulbs to maintain effectiveness

Choosing the Right Filter for Your HVAC System

When choosing the right style of filtration for your commercial HVAC system, it can depend on a number of factors such as whether you have any specific air quality needs for your facility, budget, and the capabilities of your HVAC system. Here at Burban Air Systems Ltd., our expert technicians can assess your needs and recommend the right filtration for your system to perform to its highest standards and keep your air nice and clean.

Armed with knowledge of the different types of HVAC filters and their benefits, consumers can make choices that increase their HVAC equipment’s service life, functionality and efficiency, even as they deliver healthier indoor environments for their occupants.



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