Types of Air Conditioning Filters: What You Need to Know

When it comes to air conditioning systems there are several types of filters available such as fiberglass pleats HEPA UV electrostatic media & pleated ones each with their own advantages & disadvantages.

Types of Air Conditioning Filters: What You Need to Know

When it comes to air conditioning systems, there are several types of filters available. Fiberglass and pleats are the most common, but there are also special air filters that may be more suitable in certain situations. Let's take a look at the different types of air filters and their advantages and disadvantages.

Fiberglass Air Filters

Fiberglass air filters are disposable and the least expensive type of filter.

They cause less stress on air conditioning systems when they suck in air and keep large particles out of the system. However, they don't do a great job of keeping dust and other smaller contaminating particles out. If you or someone in your family has allergies or respiratory problems, this type of filter may not be powerful enough to help alleviate or prevent respiratory problems. It will usually have a MERV 4 rating.

HEPA Filters

People who live with allergies or other respiratory problems may benefit most from HEPA filters.

These filters must be adjusted by a contractor to fit your specific HVAC system. They are very efficient at trapping dust, pollen, and other small particles, making them an ideal choice for those with allergies or respiratory issues.UV FiltersAs the name suggests, UV filters use short-wave ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. When air passes through the air conditioning unit, UV lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. UV filters are great for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health, including mold spores.

One potential danger of UV filters is that they can transform oxygen into ozone, which can be hazardous to health. Even low amounts of ozone can cause coughing and chest pain, while higher amounts can worsen existing respiratory diseases, such as asthma. While UV filters are great for eliminating bacteria and viruses, they aren't as efficient when it comes to detecting contaminants like dust. That's why they are often part of a larger filtration mechanism, which includes HEPA air filters. UV light is invisible to the human eye and bulbs usually need to be replaced every year, depending on the make and model of the air conditioning system.Electrostatic FiltersBy using small cotton and paper fibers, electrostatic filters create static that acts as a magnet for dust and other particles suspended in the air. The magnetism is strong enough to prevent these particles from spreading throughout the house, making them one of the best options for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

An additional advantage of electrostatic filters is that they are available as disposable and reusable. When it's time to change the filters, you can decide whether to wash and reuse them or throw them away and buy new ones. While certain types of air filters come with reusable and disposable options, washable filters are an environmentally friendly way to save money. The starting price of this type of air filter for air conditioning systems is high, but it should be considered an investment that will last for many years. The starting price is probably all you'll have to pay, since you can simply wash and reuse the filter over and over instead of buying new ones every few months. Washable filters must be well maintained to ensure that they work as they should.

As one of the main types of air filters, they come with maintenance instructions that must be followed. It is very important to ensure that the filter is completely dry before putting it back in. Even the smallest amount of moisture left over can cause mold and mildew to form in the filter and expel it into the air you breathe.

Media Filters

When it comes to air filters for HVAC systems, media filters can offer more benefits than standard filters with high MERV ratings. Media filters provide the same level of filtration as a filter with a high MERV content, but they do so without the negative consequences of airflow or static pressure.

In contrast, media filters have a larger surface area, which successfully avoids significant static pressure and, at the same time, provides better filtration. Multimedia filters are very easy to maintain and are great for filtering bacteria and other small airborne contaminants. The filtered dirt is sealed in the filter, preventing it from returning to your home. Media filters are also robust and cost-effective, and should be changed as infrequently as once or twice a year.

Pleated Filters

The pleats of these filters give them an advantage over the pleatless options because they increase the surface area of the filter for better filtering. Filters with more folds will filter better than those with fewer folds, since they trap even the most difficult allergens and contaminants, such as pet dander and mold spores. Pleated filters are also available in reusable and disposable formats, and can help suppress HVAC fan noise.

The downside of these filters is that they require your HVAC system to work a little harder to draw air through the unit, which can cause your HVAC system to lose efficiency sooner than expected. Because pleated filters slightly improve your home's air quality, they're a reasonably priced option for people concerned about indoor air quality. In general, the filters will be 1 inch thick for common systems and 5 inches thick for larger HVAC systems. The overall size of the filter can range from a combination of height and length of 10 inches by 10 inches to 30 inches by 30 inches. While they can effectively filter dust and other pollutants from the air, they provide low air filtration and are less resistant to airflow. The best way to find out what size filter you need is to remove the existing filter from your air conditioning system and check its dimensions on the filter frame.


Any pleated HVAC filter can improve your home's indoor air quality by trapping dust, pollen, and other small particles - making it quieter and more passive vacuum - while capturing airborne particles within its medium as air moves through your HVAC system.


Gladys Gildner
Gladys Gildner

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