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Are AC & Furnace Filters the Same Thing?

Air filters in HVAC systems are used to both protect the HVAC equipment and to remove allergens and other pollutants for the home’s air supply. When discussing HVAC air filters, the terms AC filter and furnace filter are often used interchangeably, but in some cases only one of the terms is accurate. It depends largely on the type of HVAC equipment you have installed in your home.

Central Air Conditioning

In most cases, central air conditioners are combined with a furnace for a complete heating and cooling solution. Typically, the AC evaporator is installed in the furnace air handler, and both systems use the same blower assembly, air filter, and ductwork. Such systems are in the majority of homes nationwide and the air filter can be justly called either an AC or a furnace filter. Standalone AC systems, however, will use only a single filter.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are similar to air conditioners, but the refrigeration cycle can be reversed to provide both heating and cooling. They use a system of air ducts, as well as their own air handler, blower, and filter. Since these systems provide both heating and cooling, there is only one air filter, and it is similar to a central air conditioner or furnace filter

Ductless Systems

Ductless mini splits are standalone systems that can provide heating, cooling, or both. They have a single condenser, plus one air handler for each zone. Each air handler incorporates an evaporator, fan, and a propriety air filter that is incompatible with other HVAC systems.

When to Replace Air Filters

Regardless of the type of system, the air filter should be checked at least once a month. If it is dirty or clogged, it should be cleaned or replaced, depending on the type of filter. Most air filters last for about three months, though some are designed to be replaced monthly, while others can last six months or more. Because indoor air pollutants can vary by season and household activity, checking your filters monthly is the best practice.

Baltimore HVAC & Air Quality Services

At All Seasons Heating & Cooling, we can help you find the right air filter for your HVAC system, and we also offer maintenance, repair, and indoor air quality services to help improve your comfort. With over 50 years of industry experience, and a reputation for quality and reliability, you can trust our team for all your heating and cooling needs.

Contact us today at 443-692-7723 to discuss your home’s indoor air quality and ways to improve it!

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