Air filters play a vital role in removing dirt and debris that could enter your HVAC system and cause problems. You need to regularly change or clean your air filter in order to have a fully functional air conditioning system. The owner's manual can give you some general instructions and guidance for choosing the best type of filters for your particular unit. But there are a few other qualities to look for when choosing the best filters for your central air conditioning unit.
Look for Highest MERV Rating
Minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating refers to how effective or efficient a particular filter is at cleaning the air. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at cleaning the air due to having smaller holes that can trap more dirt and debris than a filter with larger holes.
You should first find the type of air filter that matches your air conditioner unit make and model. Then compare filters of that type to find the one with the best MERV rating. Note that the higher MERV ratings do come with slightly higher price tags. If budget is a concern, purchase the highest MERV rating you can afford and you will still see an efficiency improvement.
Avoid Cheap Fiberglass Filters with Cardboard Frames
The cheapest air filters on the market have a blue fiberglass filter housed in a hard cardboard frame. If you can't afford a better filter, this type will still work but won't do the job particularly well. The fiberglass has fairly large holes that let through more contaminants and the frame can create an imperfect fit that lets contaminants in around the edges.
If you need to watch your budget, try to at least upgrade to a pleated air filter, which should still cost less than a couple of lattes. The pleated filters have a porous design that allows for decent air filtration without costing you any of that precious circulating air.
Use a High-Efficiency Filter if Anyone has Respiratory Problems
Do you or a family member suffer from allergies or asthma? You will want to put a bit more money into your air filter to give you the lowest chances of breathing in irritants. You don't want to go for an actual HEPA filter, which blocks out too much circulating air to work in an HVAC system, but rather with the highest efficiency pleated type filter you can find.
The high efficiency pleated models are also sometimes coated in a chemical that can block out bacteria and other advanced irritants beyond catching the dirt and dust.
Still have questions about filters? Call a heating and air conditioning repairs service, such as Winters Heating Cooling, for more information.