Purchasing an air conditioner is a medium to long term investment, and its efficiency and lifespan is related to how well you maintain your AC filters. The following checklist will help you with AC filter replacement.
Your AC filter is what keeps your air conditioner running at its optimal best. If obstructed by dust and dirt, the air flow is hindered – this not only means more energy consumption, but it also means you will struggle to keep your home cool this summer. Inside most air conditioners are coils. These help to absorb the heat in the air which travels through your AC, keeping your environment cool and comfortable. If the coils, much as the filters, are covered with dust and dirt, you will not enjoy the full benefits of your AC, have a higher power bill, and risk permanently and prematurely damaging your ac unit.
Your first step should be to always try and keep your AC as clean as possible. Ideally filters should be cleaned once a month and replaced every 3 months – don’t wait until your filter is beyond the replacement date before doing something about it because you risk doing damage to your AC unit.
You will need to know what the MERV rating is before choosing which filter to go for. The MERV rating is based on how well the filter will catch debris and foreign particles before they get released into the air. The higher the rating, the stronger the filtering power. These ratings range from 11 to 16. Don’t get the highest rating simply because you want the strongest filter – this can be counter-productive, and your filter may end up blocking the air instead of doing its job properly.
There are several types of AC filters that you can choose from.
These are good at catching debris before it gets into the air thanks to their accordion-like shape.
These come in a mesh which capture the dust and debris, but its MERV rating is only 1-4. They are the most popular kind of disposable filter.
These have a similar MERV rating to the Fiberglass filter and actually works better when it is dirty, because dirt on the filter helps to trap debris. This however means it is more susceptible to mildew and bacteria growth and is thus counter-intuitive.
These are a little pricier but do a better job at cleaning the air. They have a MERV rating of between 14 and 16, which make them very effective at keeping your air clean.
These are the best option. They have a rating of 14-16 and are able to rid the air of the really tiny debris – something the high efficiency filters don’t do.
If you’re on a budget, the fiberglass and washable filters can help you in the short term, and can be a good option if you are not sensitive to any allergies, do not have pets or children, and don’t mind replacing filters very often. If you do have allergies or pets, then it is best to opt for the High Efficiency or the HEPA filter.
Do your research on the latest in HVAC technology and ac filters – getting the cheaper, washable alternatives will only make your allergies worse. Having kids around also means you have to keep the standard of your air high, as they are more susceptible to getting allergies and infections – especially babies. If you are careful and don’t mind paying a little more, the HEPA and high-efficiency are your go-to filters.
It’s very easy to make the wrong choice in air conditioning filter replacement, so contact a professional like Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric – that way you won’t need to worry if you’re making the right or wrong choice for your AC needs.
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