Living in Florida, air conditioners are essential. They keep everyone comfortable, make life bearable during the oppressive summer heat, and they save your furnishings from humidity damage.
However, there’s a long list of air filters. Considering that different people have different needs, how do you know which type of filter would be best for your home?
AC Air Filter 101
Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm and humid air from inside your home, taking out all the humidity and airborne pollutants, such as dust, dander, pollen, and pet hair. After a while, they can get pretty caked with debris, which obstructs airflow, diminishes the air quality inside your home, and increases your energy bills. So no matter which type of air filters you decide to purchase, always make it a priority to clean or change them regularly.
Also, it will serve you well to familiarize yourself with acronyms such as MERV and HEPA, since they do reflect a filter’s quality.
MERV. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Every air filter has a number that reflects their MERV. The higher the number, the fewer amount of pollutants will be able to pass through the filters.
HEPA. This acronym stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. They trap air pollutants that other air filters generally don’t catch, such as pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and tobacco. HEPA air filters also have a higher MERV rating.
Now, common sense may tell you that you can simply buy air filters with the highest MERV rating possible. However, you have to keep in mind that the higher the rating, the smaller the openings, which means less airflow. What works best for your home depends on the amount of pollutants in your household. For example, a hospital is going to need higher filtering than an apartment for two people. This is why it always makes sense to speak with an experienced HVAC professional to help guide you.
Ok, now that you have a basic understanding of Air Filters 101, let’s take a look at the different types of air filters.
Washable AC Filters
There are different types of air filters, and each of them will come with their own set of instructions on how to care for them.
Generally speaking, washable air filters can either be removed from the air conditioner, vacuumed, and replaced. They could also be placed under running water until all of the dirt and debris is rinsed off. Once clean, let it air dry for a full 24 hours before reinstalling them on the AC. Do not skip this step even if you’re in a hurry to turn your air conditioner on again. Using a filter that’s not completely dry could lead to mold growth in your home.
The benefits of washable air filters are that you’re producing less waste and that you’re saving money by keeping the same ones around for a while. However, buyer beware: Washable air filters tend to have a lower MERV rating, which means that they won’t filter pollutants from the air inside your home as well as replaceable filters. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind if you have extra reason for wanting to filter air, such as smokers, allergy sufferers, or pets living with you.
Disposable AC Filters
Disposable air filters have a higher MERV rating than washable ones. And since you’re throwing old ones away and installing new ones, there’s no 24 hour wait time when it’s time to change them, as with washable filters. However, it can be a hassle to have to shop for new filters every couple of months, and it can weigh heavily on your conscience if you’re producing more waste by throwing out air filters several times a year.
This is when you have to make a pros and cons list as to whether disposable filters would be a good choice for you. If you already know that you have a lot of pollutants inside your home, you’ll likely want to prioritize air quality and your family’s health over everything else.
Fiberglass Air Filters
Fiberglass filters appear to be cost-effective because they’re cheaper than their counterparts. But this comes with a huge caveat: you have to change them more often, which means that in the long run, you’ll be spending more money.
They also only remove large dust particles, so if you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, you’ll want to bypass on this type of filter.
Pleated Air Filters
If the word “pleated” makes you think of the pants you ironed this morning, you’re on the right path. Pleated air filters have the same type of fold on their surface. Because they have more surface area, they are able to catch a larger amount of dust particles than traditional filters.
Pleated filters also have a higher MERV rating without obstructing your airflow as much. And because they have more material on them, they don’t need to be changed as often. Overall, in comparison with fiberglass filters, pleated filters are a superior option.
Call our HVAC Professionals at A Plus Air Conditioning for Service and Repair
Let us help you extend the lifespan of your air conditioner! We provide services throughout north central Florida. And because we understand that a working air conditioner is essential in Florida, we offer 24/7 AC emergency service.
Call us at (352) 374-4988 to schedule an appointment.