Your air conditioner’s air filter is a vital part of your HVAC system. It’s important to understand what you and your system need to ensure that your home’s air quality is at its best.
What is an Air Filter?
An AC air filter is a replaceable device in your HVAC unit that traps dust particles and other harmful contaminants floating around your home. The soiled air travels through the system to be conditioned and circulated out again. The air should be cleaner coming out, as long as you regularly replace your filter.
Your first step in choosing a filter is learning what you need in terms of air quality. A Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, also known as a MERV rating, is a good indicator of how efficient the air filter is.
- Reusable Air Filters: Washable air filters prevent you from completely replacing the filter by just washing, drying and replacing your current reusable filter. However, they do have a MERV rating between one and four, which means they provide a basic filtration level and are not as effective at catching fine dust and pet dander.
- Fiberglass Air Filters: Fiberglass filters are very common due to their simplicity and affordability. They are below 10 on the MERV scale, due to its ability to only catch larger particles like carpet fibers and pet hair.
- Pleated Air Filters: Pleated filters are more durable than fiberglass and can trap particles large and small, which makes them the best option for those who suffer from allergies. Pleated filters usually have MERV ratings ranging from 5-13. These filters are typically your best bet for both performance and value.
- HEPA Filters: High Efficiency Particulate Air filters provide the highest protection level against airborne particles like bacteria and smoke. With a high MERV rating between 17-20, these types of filters are intended for hospital use. They’re not recommended for use in homes.
For the highest quality of air in your home, you need to regularly replace your filter. This should just be considered part of good AC maintenance. You can lower your AC’s energy consumption up to 15% just by replacing your dirty filter. How often you change your filter depends on the air filter model and household factors like home size, the number of pets you own, the time of year and how often you use your HVAC system.
For more information regarding your indoor air quality or filtration advice, contact My Guy Heating and Air today! We are proud to be “Your Guy” for your air conditioning and heating services.