Everything you need to know about Air Conditioning Filters

​Did you know that a dirty air conditioning filter can ruin your unit? If the filters dirty, everything past the filter is dirty too. Air conditioners are designed to work with a certain amount of air flow, and if that isn’t being met, the unit may malfunction.

It also makes your unit run less efficiently and higher electric bills.

Home air conditioning filters are to be changed every 2-3 months, but it also depends on how often you use your air conditioner. Check it EVERYmonth. The general rule of thumb is not to wait for the dust to settle and matte inside the filter. Your air conditioning filter is very important in making sure your family is breathing clean air and you are reducing your energy consumption. There are 3 types of filters:

1. Mechanical –
The most common a/c filter used in the home. this type of filter uses synthetic fibers to trap small particles like debris and dust to prevent them circulating in the air. Disposable conventional fiberglass air filters come in 2 sizes, 1″ and 2″. This is the most economical but the least effective, and easily damaged by cleaning.

2. Pleated Air Filters-
Pleated air filters remove around 35-40% of the air pollutants in the home. They are more effective than mechanical air filters because they contain more fiber per square inch as compared to disposable fiberglass filters.

3. Electronic Air Filters –
The most effective among the types of filters, but also the most effective in trapping dust and debris in the air. These filters also come in 2 sizes. Electronic air filters can last up to six months.

Air Conditioning filters are also classified by categories through their MERV ratings. When you are planning to buy a a filter, look for the MERV rating.

Filters that belong to the MERV 7 category trap larger particles and provide standard efficiency. MERV 8 filters are useful for pet owners and for those who have dust and pollen allergies. The best home air conditioning filters are those marked under the MERV 11 category. These filters are perfect for families with members who are suffering from chronic respiratory disease, or if your home has low indoor air quality.

What does MERV Rating mean?
Your filters MERV rating is a good way to help judge the effectiveness of the filter. MERV means Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value which was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioner Engineers (ASHRAE) MERV values vary from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV value is, the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles. Another consideration is air flow through your HVAC system. Leaving a dirty air filter in place or using a filter that is too restrictive may result in low air flow and possibly cause the system too malfunction. ASHRAE recommends MERV 6 or higher. The US Department of Energy recommends MERV 13.