Types of Air Conditioner Filters: A Comprehensive Guide

Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system provides your home with fresh air in summer and warm air in winter. However, without a proper HVAC filter, your system will not operate efficiently or provide the benefits of cleaner air. Different types of HVAC filters are designed to protect the mechanisms of your HVAC system from particles such as dirt and dust. Equally important, the type of HVAC filter you use can play an important role in your home's air quality. By regularly changing or cleaning filters, you can avoid unnecessary expenses and improve the air quality in your home.

While most filters only trap dust, lint, pollen, mold spores, and particles of similar size between 2.0 and 10.0 microns, there are some filters that exceed the particle size of 2.0. These filters have the ability to trap smaller particles such as bacteria, viruses, smoke, smog and droplet cores. There are four general types of air conditioning filters: fiberglass filters, pleated media filters, HEPA filters and reusable air filters. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to filtering out particles from the air. Let's take a look at each type in more detail.

Fiberglass Filters

Fiberglass air filters are disposable and the most economical type of filter.

They cause less strain on HVAC systems when they draw in air and keep large particles out of your system. However, they don't do a great job of keeping out dust and other smaller contaminating particles. If you or your family members suffer from allergies or have respiratory problems, this type of filter may not be powerful enough to help alleviate or prevent respiratory problems. It will generally have a MERV 4 rating.

Pleated Media Filters

Pleated media filters are a step ahead of basic fiberglass filters and generally meet minimum recommendations set by HVAC manufacturers.

Made of polyester fabrics or cotton pleats, pleated air filters are effective at filtering dust and other contaminants. Filters with more pleats will provide better filtration than those with fewer folds, trapping even the toughest allergens and contaminants.

HEPA Filters

The following are HEPA filters, which are very efficient and can trap tiny particles such as smoke and bacteria. They are ideal for situations where air quality is paramount (ie,. hospitals).

Reusable Air Filters

Finally, we have reusable air filters, which are comparable to fiberglass filters in terms of efficiency, but have a much higher cost.

Media filters are very easy to maintain and ideal for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. You can also find Honeywell filters designed to last up to a year (however, keep in mind that you should check the filter every month, as you may need to change it more frequently depending on your use). For this reason, these filters are not recommended for people who have respiratory problems and need a filter that improves indoor air quality. Even the slightest amount of moisture that remains can cause mold and mildew to form on the filter and then settle in the space you breathe. Failure to maintain a washable filter will reduce its effectiveness and will not have a high MERV rating. Filti filters are efficient HVAC filters that have a MERV rating of 16 and have proven to be more efficient in capturing particles that fall within the range of. Now that you have a better understanding of the variation of HVAC filters available, choosing an HVAC filter is much easier.

Replacing a filter takes a few seconds, while cleaning a reusable filter and then letting it dry can take much longer. It's important to remember that no filter is universal, so it's important to make sure the filter you buy is the right size to fit your HVAC system. Not all filters are built equal, so choosing the right filter depends on what you need to purify the air. While certain types of air filters come with reusable and disposable options, washable filters are an eco-friendly way to save money.