Florida natives and tourists alike know that the air here is fresh and warm. However, attempting to create that freshness within your home can prove difficult. Find out how choosing the right type of air conditioner filter can help in the production of crisp, clean air that you and your family can enjoy.
Why is it Necessary to Change Filters?
Before looking into the three different types of air conditioner filters that are available, it is first important to understand the importance of changing them in the first place. First and foremost, these filters not only remove dust and dirt from the air that circulates through your home, but they also remove allergens and allow your family to breathe easier. Similarly, when the air conditioner filter is dirty, it causes your unit to consume more power than is truly necessary for it to operate. All this does is make your air conditioner less efficient – and cause your utility bills to climb.
Mechanical Air Filters
The first type of air conditioner filter that can be found in most homes across the nation is the mechanical version. This is essentially a collection of synthetic fibers, namely fiberglass, and charcoal layers that are used to trap dirt and freshen the air. These filters come in one and two inch thicknesses, so you will need to check with your air conditioner manufacturer to find out which to use. They should be removed, disposed of and replaced at least once every three months or more often if your air conditioner runs often; cleaning them isn’t advisable because wetting these filters can damage them.
Pleated filters are a type of mechanical air filter in all actuality, but they are a better option than their non-pleated counterparts. Think of it like this: when the synthetic materials and charcoal filters are pleated, then there is more filtering material per square inch. This alone allows for the capture of 30% to 40% more debris than standard mechanical filters, providing you with cleaner, fresher air. The actual filtering capabilities of these vary, too; some provide HEPA filtration while others do not.
Although they are much more expensive than their mechanical and pleated counterparts, electronic filters are the absolute best choices for those who want the most crisp, freshest air possible inside their homes. These filters are electronically charged so that they can capture things like smoke, mold particles, pet odors, and tiny allergens that may otherwise slip through. These should not be confused with electrostatic filters, though. Electrostatic filters add a static charge to the air and attract dirt and debris. While an electronic filter must only be changed every six months, an electrostatic one should be changed every three at most.
A good way to choose a filter for your unit and family is to first read the manufacturer’s recommendations. Next, look for the MERV rating associated with the filter you are considering. These range from MERV 7 to MERV 11 with 7 being the standard filter that traps only large particles and 11 being the best filter on the market.