Neglecting your air conditioner air filters will cause the dirt and dust to build up on the filter. A dirty air conditioner air filter can be a source of many problems: it will damage the performance of the HVAC system and will increase the electricity consumption of the air conditioner.
Furthermore, the dirty air filter will start to become a source of air pollution that will decrease the indoor air quality in your home and may cause a number of ailments to your respiratory system such as asthma. Even the most well cared air filters accumulate dirt and will be required to be changed to keep the air conditioner working optimally. There are different types of air filters that accommodate different needs:
- Fiberglass air filters – the cheapest and common type of air conditioner air filter. It’s made of synthetic fiberglass that mechanically traps all the pollutants that go through it. It has a decent rate of filtration and can provide a standard level of indoor air quality. This type of air filter should be changed frequently every two months.
- Pleated air filters – a similar type to the fiberglass filter. Pleated air filters are made from synthetic fiberglass as well, the only difference is the density of the fiberglass. This filter contains more fiberglass per inch and thus has a better rate of filtration than the regular fiberglass air filters. Its recommended to change this type of air filter every four months.
- Electrostatic air filters – the most effective and expensive type of air filter. Electricity is used to attract all the small dust particles and other pollutants to the filter. Often used with a pre-filter that traps all the bigger dirt particles. It has a very good filtration rate and can produce a high level of indoor air quality. The electrostatic air filter needs to be changed every 6 months.
Another important factor you should consider before replacing your air filter is its MERV rating. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, a value system between 1-20 that measures the air filters effectiveness.
Generally an air filter with a rating of 7 or higher can provide an adequate indoor air quality level. In addition, you should check that your HVAC system can handle your air filters, the more efficient filters (a filter with a high MERV value) will restrict the airflow, thus requiring a stronger system to push the air through the filters.