One of the benefits of owning a geothermal heat pump is that there is relatively little maintenance to perform on the machine. Unless you are having technical problems with your heat pump, you don’t need to have a technician perform yearly service checks. That said, there is one thing you should do every six months, and that’s change the air filter. But what type of filter should you choose? There are several options, each with their own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at why air filters are important, how often you should change them, and which type is right for your situation.
Why Geothermal Heat Pumps Have Filters
First, does your heat pump even have a filter? Not all heat pumps do. It depends on the type of energy distribution system you have in your home. A good rule of thumb to determine if your heat pump has a filter is if there is ductwork installed in your home. If this is the case, then you have a water to air heat pump, which has a filter. This filter cleans the air coming into the heat pump, removing pet hair, dander and other airborne debris. This keeps the heat pump clean and the resulting clean air that leaves the heat pump is circulated back into your home.
Why Change Your Air Filters
Over time your heat pump’s air filter will collect so much dirt and debris that it will become dirty and need to be changed. If you don’t keep your heat pump’s filter clean, the dirty air filter will reduce airflow to the heat pump, which will decrease the efficiency of the heat pump and could damage your heat pump’s compressor over time. This could mean some expense repair bills, so it’s important to keep that filter clean by changing it regularly. But how often?
How frequently you need to change your filter depends on several factors including if you have pets, and if there are any wood burning fireplaces in your home. We recommend replacing your filter at least once every six months.
Different Types of Filters
There are three types of filters that we recommend using: fiberglass, pleated, and electrostatic. Each of these filters is made out of a different material, and so has a different MERV rating. A MERV rating tells you how much dust and particulates a filter will remove from the air. The higher the rating, the more debris is removed from the air as it passes through the filters. Let’s go through each filter and look at the MERV rating and the other pros and cons:
Fibreglass filters were the first filters sold with Nordic heat pumps. They’re made of spun fiberglass and have a cardboard frame. We recommend that you change these filters once every six months. These filters are not reusable (meaning you will have to buy a new one every six months) and have a MERV rating of 4.
Pleated filters are made of fabric that has been folded into pleats (hence the name) and framed by cardboard. These are the standard filters that ship with our units today. These filters should be cleaned at least once every six months. To clean these filters, vacuum them to remove any dust or other particles. We only recommend cleaning them once or twice before replacing them. These filters have a MERV rating of 8.
Electrostatic filters are reusable filters. The material they’re made of is electrostatically charged so that dust and other particles stick to the material when air passes over it. These filters are reusable and should be cleaned once every six months. To clean them, simply wash them with a mild soap and warm water. The filter should be completely dry before you reinsert it into the machine. These filters have a MERV of 8 and are a little more expensive than the other two options, but they will last much longer and result in less waste going to a landfill.
Your heat pump’s air filter is an important part of the system and needs to be properly maintained to ensure the system works properly. Whether you choose fiberglass, pleated or electrostatic is up to you, but the important thing is to not forget to change it!