Can an Air Conditioner Filter Smoke?

An air conditioner is not designed to work like an air purifier. Although some may filter smoke to a certain degree, it is not recommended to use them as air purifiers. It is important to use your air conditioner responsibly in order to prevent premature deterioration. Air conditioners use air filters to remove contaminants from the air circulating in the home.

When the air conditioner is running, indoor air is circulated, heat is removed, and some particles are also filtered out. To ensure that your air filtration works at peak efficiency, it is best to get the highest level of filters available. HEPA filters are able to trap very small particles. It is important to change air filters regularly in order to keep them working at peak performance.

The EnviroKlenz HVAC air filter is a highly effective, patented technology air filter that can work against a variety of airborne pollutants, including chemical VOCs, harmful odors, and particles that are present in wildfire smoke. Air conditioners cannot filter cigarette smoke and the smoke will affect the life of the air conditioner filter. If you decide to purchase a high-efficiency HVAC filter to increase filtration, choose one with a MERV 13 rating, or a rating as high as the system fan and filter slot can accommodate. Cigarette smoke particles are so heavy that they can cover the entire filter with debris in a few days.

Medium MERV filters provide much more filtration than basic MERV 1-4 filters with central air systems, which capture only visible to the naked eye contaminants, such as pet hair and dust rabbits, but not fine particles such as smoke. Although these filters are installed only to protect the air conditioning system from damage, in many cases they can help you remove smoke from the air. The EPA recommends filters with a rating of at least MERV 13, or a rating “as high as can accommodate the system filter and fan slot”. The air conditioner will tend to absorb more smoke from polluted air and will affect your filter and, in the worst case, the air conditioning system. Many air conditioning units have internal filters that are designed to improve air quality a little, but mostly to trap large particles such as dust.