Yes, heat pumps have a filtration system to make air cleaner and to reduce wear and tear on parts. All HVAC systems that force air with a blower will use filtration. So, your home heat pump should have an air filter somewhere to do this.
Heat pumps use the air outside to exchange heat in and out of the home, and that air carries all kinds of dust, pollen, and other particles. Without a filter, that would come into your home and cause health problems like asthma.
What Kind of Filters Are There for Heat Pumps?
All heat pumps will have some sort of filter. It could be a simple paper filter, or a HEPA filter, or even a fancier plasma or ionic filter. Heat pumps require less filtration than a traditional HVAC system because they do not burn any combustion products to exchange heat.
A heat pump is like a refrigerator that can move heat in or out of your home. They’re a much more sustainable way to heat and cool your home than traditional HVAC systems that burn fossil fuels. Combined with a good filtration system, a heat pump can improve your home’s air quality.
What Kind of Particles Can Heat Pumps Block?
That depends on the filter, not on the pump. Filters are rated in MERV on a scale of 1 to 16. The lower the number, the more the filter lets through. Higher numbers require stronger systems to push air past the filter. Most homes use a filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 12.
A MERV 8 filter blocks 90% of particles that are three to 10 micrometers in size. A MERV 8 filter will control mold spores, dust, carpet fibers, and most aerosol particles. If you are worried about wildfire smoke, welding fumes, and other very fine particles in your home’s air, you can get a filter above MERV 8. Just make sure your heat pump can support it.
Maintaining Your Heat Pump Air Filter
Once a month, check your filter to see if it’s dirty. Our HVAC technicians can show you where the filter is and what a dirty filter looks like. If your system is equipped with a washable filter, wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If it’s a replaceable one, you can find many heat pump filters in home improvement stores and even some department and grocery stores. If it’s not too dirty, take the old one with you so that you can get the same brand and size.
Your system may also have a high efficiency air filter option that will keep your air filtered for up to a year before it needs to be changed. Ask one of our HVAC specialists at Ambient Edge if this is possible for your heat pump.
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What Happens if I Don’t Change the Filter?
When a filter gets clogged, it cannot filter air properly and pollutants may re-enter your home’s air. These pollutants can cause headaches, allergic reactions, and even dizziness. Long-term, they could trigger asthma, heart disease, and even cancer!
Also, a clogged filter forces your heat pump to work harder to do its job. This will raise your energy bills and lower the lifespan of your heat pump. It will also cause hot and cold spots in your home.
Finally, if you live in a place where there is mold, humidity can build up inside a clogged heat pump system and activate spores trapped in the clogged filter, which will spread mold through your home and make your system smell. So, don’t put off changing your heat pump air filter regularly!