The AC filter is an important component of an air conditioning system. It is designed to remove airborne pollutants and contaminants to improve indoor air quality and allow the HVAC unit to perform at its best. Choosing the best type of AC filter for your home can often be confusing, especially with so many types of filters available on the market. Allow us to guide you on the best types of home air filters.
Why Choosing the Right Type of AC Filter is Important
Choosing the right AC filter has multiple benefits for your home and the AC unit. For example, if you settle for an inexpensive option, you may not get the required level of filtration. Cheaper AC filters are generally ineffective against smaller particulates in the air, such as allergens and mold spores.
Using the correct filter also extends your AC’s lifespan. Efficient AC filters can prevent contaminants from clogging or settling on other AC components—such as the condensate drain, blower motor, or evaporator coils—and damaging the unit. It would also prevent pollutants from reaching the ductwork. Picking the right filter can also reduce utility bills, helping you save money in the long run.
AC filters come in different sizes. There is no standard size for all HVAC units, as each AC has different requirements. Check the AC manual for the sizing requirements of the air filter. The manual should also specify the type of filter you need. Always consider the filter’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) rating. These ratings range from 1 to 16. Filters with MERV ratings 8 to 13 are most commonly used in residential properties.
Best Types of AC Filters for Homes
Electrostatic filters are made from propylene or polyurethane and a metal mesh. These filters use static electricity to capture the pollutants in the air. They can come in disposable and washable forms. Some electrostatic filters also contain a carbon filter, which improves efficiency. However, remember that electrostatic filters become less effective if not regularly cleaned.
Fiberglass filters are some of the most affordable AC filters for homes. These filters are also known as flat-paneled filters and are typically made of spun glass. Most fiberglass filters have a 1-inch thickness and are less efficient in filtering out smaller particles as compared to other options on the market. These filters also require more frequent replacements as they can become clogged quickly.
Pleated AC filters are made of either cotton or polyester and arranged into multiple folds, which increases their surface area. Although pleated air filters are more expensive than fiberglass filters, they offer better filtration. These filters can also last longer, requiring fewer replacements.
HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters are among the most efficient AC filters available. According to EPA, HEPA filters can remove 99.97% of harmful particulates from the air. These filters can also trap bacteria and smoke and are generally used in healthcare facilities. HEPA filters are great at trapping a wide range of pollutants but can restrict airflow, causing the unit to consume more energy and work harder to meet airflow requirements.