Your air conditioning unit requires a filter in order to work properly. It is also important for the filter to be replaced on a regular basis. A great time to change out your filter is right before the summer season when your AC unit is working hardest. When it comes to unit filters, you have several options. You should know that not all filters are the same and not all are created for your AC unit. 2C’s Cooling & Heating wants to educate you on the different types and help you decide which might be best for you and your air conditioner.
One key piece of information that all filters have in common is their “MERV”. This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Essentially, this is how effective your air is on range of 1-20. The higher the MERV rating on the filter, the fewer dust particles and contaminants can pass through.
Fiberglass HVAC Filters
Fiberglass filters allow for maximum airflow and provide the minimum amount of filtration. They have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. This means the filter will prevent hair and large dust particles from entering the HVAC unit. Though they allow for maximum airflow, they do not necessarily do anything to improve the home’s indoor air quality. A fiberglass HVAC filter may be right for you if you don’t have any pets, allergies, or chronic respiratory conditions.
Pleated HVAC Filters
These mid-rage filters trap a majority of airborne pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Pleated filters are rated between MERV 5 and 8. Commonly identified by their V-shaped chevron pattern surface and are used widely in homes across North America. This filter is often used to improve the indoor air quality of your home, but can increase energy costs a little. A pleated HVAC filter may be right for you if you have pets or mild allergies.
Electrostatic HVAC Filters
Electrostatic filters are unlike any of the other filters as they feature self-charging fibers that attract particles from the air without requiring a tight weave. Air passes efficiently through the filter while trapping a great number of particles. These filters also come in a washable version, which allows you to wash and reuse them. Electrostatic HVAC filters may be suitable if you want better filtration with ample airflow. Just remember to check the MERV rating since being labeled “electrostatic” doesn’t necessarily guarantee a more efficient filter.
HEPA filters, or high-efficiency particulate arrestance filters, are the most efficient filters available. These filters have a MERV between 17 and 20, trapping nearly 95% of mold, fine dust, asbestos, bacteria, and viruses in the air. HEPA filters are not always compatible with all HVAC systems. They drastically restrict airflow and may require a modification to your system. ou should only pursue this level of filtration if you or a family member has severe allergies, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
When considering which filter to use, be sure to check all factors and determine what you need. 2C’s Cooling and Heating can help you make the right choice. With our guidance, you can maximize air filtration without accidentally damaging your system with an incompatible filter.
For answers to any questions you have about air filters for the home, please contact 2C’s Cooling and Heating today.