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How To Choose The Right Air Filter for Your AC

One of the most common oversights in caring for an HVAC system is ignoring the need to replace your air filter. Out of sight often means out of mind, especially during the months in which your system is not in use. As you turn on the system, a musty smell may trigger your memory. It’s helpful to make that change before you need to use your air conditioner, and we have a few tips for selecting the right air filter for your equipment.

Determining Correct Air Filter Sizing

The easiest way to ensure that your replacement filter is properly sized is to check the numbers printed on your existing filter. However, some models don’t display the measurements. You may also be new to your home and dealing with a system that doesn’t have a filter in place. You can measure the existing filter or the grill to find the dimensions of height, width and depth.

Height is the vertical measurement up and down. Width is the measurement from side to side. Depth is the smallest of these, indicating the thickness of the filter. In each case, you can use a tape measure to find the dimensions. If you come up with a fractional measurement, round up to the nearest whole number.

Proper air filter sizing is important because of the function of your air filter. While most consumers think that the filter is in place to keep dust out of the air, the more important function is keeping dirt away from your interior AC equipment. Dirty coils, for example, can obstruct the heat exchange process that causes your indoor air to cool properly. The filter is critical in helping your unit to function optimally.

Indoor Air Quality and MERV Ratings

Although the protection of equipment is a primary function of your filter, it’s helpful to know that there are varying quality levels available when you buy a replacement air filter. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and a higher value means that filtration of particles will be more effective. This helps both your indoor airstream and your inside equipment. MERV ratings range from one to 20, but values of 13 or more are generally not intended for use in home HVAC systems. These high-MERV filters can restrict airflow, affecting indoor air pressure while jeopardizing your equipment. Ratings of one to four are excellent for use in window AC units. Ratings of five to eight provide good household filtration, while ratings of nine to 12 provide superior filtration. Costs aren’t always indicative of the best MERV ratings, making it important to verify the details when you select a filter.

Washable Air Filters

Disposable filters should be checked monthly during heating and cooling seasons. It’s also possible to invest in a washable filter that will provide longer service. This eco-friendly choice should be replaced once per year, reducing the waste associated with typical filters. A monthly check will allow you to be sure that the filter is clean and functional.

Find The Right Air Conditioning Filter

As a member of AC Filter Dealer, we are now your comprehensive Montgomery, AL, resource for all of your AC filter needs. You can search for the right option by entering the dimensions needed on our website, or you can use your system’s brand and model number to locate the right option for your home. You can also contact us directly by phone or email for assistance.

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