Which one is better?  Whole House Filters for HVAC systems vs Return Filters

Which one is better? Whole House Filters for HVAC systems vs Return Filters

Posted by Superior Air Quality on Jun 22nd 2020

First to note, your house should NOT use both a whole house filter in the unit AND filters in the returns unless you use the fiberglass $1 filter in the returns just to catch pet hair and the heaviest dust. Why? Because the you would double restrict your air flow and possibly burn up your unit too quickly… and you will be using more energy to run your unit. We have had just a few customers over the years that their AC contractor changed out their system to use a whole house filter but did not tell them to quit using the ones in the returns.

Many new home builders are putting a whole house filter in the unit in the attic. Also, when family’s ac units need to be replaced, some are changing to the attic whole house unit instead of keeping their filters in the returns throughout the house.

Is this the best idea for the homeowner? There are some pros and cons to either filter location worth thinking about.

The Pros of a whole house filter system:

  • Often builders recommend this because they have been trained this is better for the customer only having to change 1 filter and less often.
  • It is quicker and easier for you to change 1 filter if you have easy access to the unit(s) in your attic. This is especially true if you have a large house with multiple returns.

The Cons of a whole house filter system:

  • The attic system often does not collect dust and pollen as well as returns in the wall or ceiling, (help remove more of the dust where you live). The further away the filter is from the living space- the less efficient the filter is for trapping the particles in the air we breathe.
  • Because the unit is in the attic and not easy to check on, some people do not change them as often as needed because they forget or its too hot or too cold to want to get up there. This can cause multiple problems including restriction of air flow which can lead to water build up in the drain pan and increased energy costs.
  • All the dust particles, pollen, etc. has to go through the ductwork to get to the filter causing more places for harmful particles to grow. This can lead to more allergy symptoms and/or greater maintenance expenses to have the ductwork cleaned every few years.

Options and Ideas:

  • If you are having a home built and the plan is for an attic unit you may be able to change that decision of the ac system to return filters depending on the stage the builder is at on the build. Check with them as soon as possible!
  • If your system is new- less than 6 months old - and you have not had a lot of dust already go thru your ductwork- put filters in the air returns (may need to change out the returns from screwed in to drop down vents and take the one out of the unit. This can also be done with older attic units but the air ducts most likely will need to be cleaned first so the dust that is in the them will not get into your system. You don’t want the dirt in the ducts to be sucked into the ac unit. STARTER PACKS
  • Have your unit checked on an annual basis for leaks or clogged drains and for a tune up.
  • Change your filters on a regular basis, (we can suggest a good schedule for you and your home situation). Ask us about our auto ship program
  • Use the best air filters such as the Green or Orange Screen. They catch more dust, dirt and pollen and still allow optimum airflow for the unit to run efficiently. Shop here

Possible Solutions:

  • We here at Superior Air Quality are dedicated to helping our customers breathe better and lower their energy consumption. If you have the whole house filter in your attic system already and want a better and often less expensive option, we do offer a permanent Box Frame with the 2” Orange Screens that are each custom made to fit into your whole house unit. They replace the 4” pleated filters generally sold for these units. They do a better job at catching dust, dirt and pollens, while allowing BETTER AIR FLOW, (check out our FAQ’s on website)FAQ'S Dirt is loaded into 3 zones allowing more dust and dirt to be caught without restricting air. Contact us for more information on what works best for you! INFO ON BOX FRAME
  • Another option we offer is the Permanent Grids if you would like to switch over to putting filters in your air returns instead of in the unit. (If your return grates are screwed in you will need to change them out to the drop-down kind to use the Screens.) These Grids are installed and stay there permanently so all you do is lower the return grate door and place a new Screen into the space and close the door. (Remember if you change over to using air returns your air ducts will need to be cleaned if they are dirty) INFO ON AIR RETURN STARTER PACKS

Indoor Air Quality is very important these days! We would love to help you with this so give us a call or check out our website and find out why our Screens are the way to go! Keep up with us on Face Book too! SHOP HERE