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What You Need To Know About AC Filters

AC Filter
Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s no secret that air conditioning is necessary here in South Florida. It’s essential for most of the year. AC filters are crucial to keep your HVAC system running smoothly. Read on to learn everything you need to know about AC filters.

What Does An AC Filter Do?

It may seem like a silly question, but it’s worth understanding. Particles from pet dander to cleaning supply fumes can stay trapped inside your home. Since we spend a lot of time indoors, it’s important that the quality of our indoor air is safe and clean. The main purpose of AC filters is to remove these particles from the air to help HVAC systems run smoothly and provide clean indoor air.

AC filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). MERV ratings range from 1 to 16 and are based on an AC filter’s ability to trap particles. While it may sound contradictory, choosing the highest rating isn’t always the best because it could cause too much strain on your HVAC. Always check with a licensed HVAC technician from Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric during a regular AC tune-up.

Main Types Of AC Filters

AC filters come in various types, sizes, and, of course, price points. The most common types of filters are:

High-Efficiency Particulate Air HEPA

HEPA filters must be able to capture 99.97% of particles. Because of their ability to filter the tiniest of particles, they are often used in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical settings. While they do a great job filtering the air, they may not be the best for residential use. The density of HEPA filters can impact the efficiency of an HVAC unit.


Flat-panel AC filters are made of synthetic material, fiberglass, or polyester. These filters trap large debris like dirt, pet dander, and pollen but don’t capture the smaller particulate pollutants.

These AC filters are disposable and should be replaced every 1-3 months. They typically fall between 1 and 4 on the MERV rating scale.


As the name implies, these filters are pleated. The synthetic or cotton blend material used is bent like an accordion and placed in a frame. The pleated design creates a larger surface area without increasing the thickness of the filter. Pleated AC filters are efficient and trap smaller particles like mold spores.


Washable AC filters are designed to be hosed off or vacuumed instead of thrown away and replaced. They are available in flat-panel and pleated styles. While they are an eco-friendly choice, they still have a lifespan of only a few years.

How To Choose The Right AC Filter

It is important to find out what type of filters are needed for the system. This will help you avoid wasting money on filters that aren’t compatible with your system. After that, use the MERV rating scale to decide which type of filter you prefer. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient an AC filter is.

As an additional precautionary measure, it is important to check your filters regularly so they do not become clogged with dirt and debris. If this happens, it can decrease airflow and cause problems within the unit.

For AC Filters And More, Call Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning, & Electric

Discover why tens of thousands of South Floridians have trusted and counted on the knowledgeable experts at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric for prompt, reliable service since 1983.   Schedule an indoor air quality test for your home today by calling us at 1-800-475-1504.


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