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What Air Filter Works Best for Your System?

Your air filter is arguably the most important part of your air conditioner, and yet despite the fact that it’s so inexpensive, far too many people simply don’t replace their filter often enough. A dirty air filter can be blamed for everything from a frozen air conditioner in summer to premature wear and tear on your parts to an air conditioner that simply refuses to cool quickly.

While changing your filter is important, equally important is making sure you choose the right air filter for your system. You’ll have a ton of choices when it comes to what type of air filter you want to use, and this decision can affect everything from your system’s efficiency to its longevity to how often you have to change the filter. Here is a quick guide to choosing the best air filter for your system.

Flat Fiberglass Air Filters

The most common type of air filter is the fiberglass air filter because they’re cheap, easy to produce, lightweight, and easy to use, and come in shapes, sizes, and depths. As such, they’re made for nearly any make and model of air conditioning and heating equipment. On average, one of these filters will generally run you about $2 to $5, depending on the quality you get and the size.

When it comes to choosing the right fiberglass air filter, there’s not a lot to really go wrong—all you really need to do is make sure you have the right size. There are two different sizes you have to worry about—the length and width, and then the paper filter’s thickness. Generally, the thicker a filter is, the better it will filter and the more air it will be able to handle. They’ll also last longer. However, some systems are limited to a one-inch or inch and a half filter. Before you buy, consult your owner’s manual and make sure you know the right size to pick up so you don’t get stuck with a filter that doesn’t fit.

Pleated Air Filters

Pleated fiberglass air filters are far better than flat fiberglass filters when it comes to trapping dust and dirt particles, which make them the much better choice for those who need extra filtration to fight against allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems. Generally, a pleated filter will catch about 45 percent of the debris that floats through the air, making them one of the most effective types of disposable filter.

The biggest downside? Cost—they will generally run a much higher price than a typical flat filter. As such, some people simply put one of these filters in and choose to ignore it in hopes that it’s still in good condition. However, they still need to be checked on as often as you would any other type.

Reusable Air Filters

A reusable or washable air filter is the most economical solution because you don’t have to replace it every single month, or in fact you may not have to for several months. And the benefit to these systems is pretty obvious: you don’t have to replace it, just take it out, rinse it off, dry it, and place it back in. However, there’s an interesting dynamic to how these filters work—they actually work better when they’re dirty, and trap more debris that way. They usually have an extremely low MERV rating of between 1 and 4, which means they generally don’t filter all that well for the first several hours after a cleaning. As such, they’re not exactly common. But if you’re looking for an eco-friendly and low-labor solution, one of these might prove to be perfect.

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters are not really designed for home use, and as such are usually not the right choice unless you have serious health concerns and require extremely clean air. These filters are quite frankly the best at what they do, but that comes at a cost—they restrict airflow. Your energy bills will increase slightly when using one of these filters, but they can trap as much as 97% of all particulate matter and allergens from your indoor air.

Generally, it’s best to consult with a Palm Beach County air conditioning expert to find out what kind of HEPA filter works best with your system if you need this level of air filtration.

Call Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC at (561) 270-6181 today and speak with our team about your air filtration needs!
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