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Which Air Filter Do I Need?

Technician cleaning air conditioner. Hand holding air conditioning filter

A key part of keeping your home healthy is regularly checking on the air filter in your air conditioning unit. They tend to get dirty fast, and replacing them often keeps your air flow fresh and breathable. If you need help with your air conditioning needs, ACS is always here to assist in any way possible. Below, we break down air filter basics and what you need to know about finding a replacement. 

Why You Need to Replace Your Air Filter

A clean air filter is essential for your home’s air conditioning system. Air filters easily become dirty, and a bad one leads to poor air quality, malfunctioning AC, and high bills. You should change your air filter every 30-60 days to maintain clean air and respiratory wellness. 

Types of Air Filters

There are several air filter types to choose from, but you’ll want to select your air filter based on your system and individual needs. For instance, some air filters are made from less expensive materials and intentionally disposable, while others are made to withstand repeated washing and can last several years with proper care. Some of the leading available materials include:

  • Polyester of Fiberglass Air Filters: These air filters are inexpensive, disposable, and good for capturing large particles like lint and dust. 
  • Washable Air Filters: Washable air filters can be cleaned and reused and only need a  replacement every few years. They protect the furnace motor and trap larger particles as well. 
  • Pleated Air Filters: Disposable pleated air filters cover a larger surface area and capture more particles. 
  • Electrostatic air filters: Disposable or reusable options are available for electrostatic air filters. Charged fibers help capture small and large particles. 

Terms to Know

When shopping for an air filter, there are a few terms to keep in mind. These will help you gain a better understanding of the quality you’re searching for and how to measure effectiveness.  

  • MERV: Some filters list a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), with a higher value meaning a finer filtration. A MERV rating higher than 10 is considered excellent. 
  • MPR: A microparticle performance rating (MPF) is determined by Filterete™ Brand to indicate a filter’s ability to pull in minuscule particles.
  • FPR: A filter performance rating (FPR), designed by The Home Depot, labels filters on a number scale and color-coding system. It’s similar to a MERV rating.
  • HEPA: A high-efficiency particulate air [filter] (HEPA) is designated by the U.S. Department of Energy and can theoretically remove most dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and airborne particles of a certain size.

Air Filter Sizing

If your air filter doesn’t fit correctly, it can allow pollutants in and cause damage to your HVAC system. You can look at the number on your existing air filter to order a new one or measure the opening size where the filter is installed. If the nominal size isn’t available nearby, you can request a custom size. 

If you still need help getting a new air filter, not to worry! As your trusted neighborhood air conditioning folks, ACS is here to provide you with the service you need. Give us a call today to inspect or replace your air filter.