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Air Filter 101: What You Need to Know

Air Filter
Your AC's filter isn't always on your mind. More likely, it's never on your mind. And that's how an air filter goes unchecked for far too long. Unlike other components of your air conditioner, you may not see your filter on a consistent basis. Beyond this, you won't readily feel it's effects.
When your system breaks down, the cool air goes away, and your comfortable home gets hot. When the condensate pump stops working you notice a flood of water on the floor. And when the vents get clogged, you suddenly can't feel that cool chill you expect. But when a filter is dirty, stops working, or is the wrong one for your AC system or home, you may not notice.
Even though your air filter's effects integrate into your AC's functioning, that doesn't mean it's working properly. What happens if your air conditioner's filter doesn't do its job? Take a look at what you need to know about air filters and your home's air conditioning system.

Filter Function

What does your air conditioner's filter do? It's all in the name. The filter does exactly what the name implies - it filters the air. As the air moves into the HVAC system, it goes through the filter. The filter stops common allergens (such as mold spores, pollen, and pet fur dander) along with dust, dirt, and other small-sized debris.
Not only does this give you cleaner air when the AC system recirculates it back into your home, but it also protects your air conditioner from potentially damaging particles. If the pet fur, dust, and lint are allowed into your air conditioner, it can clog the system's parts and cause it to work less efficiently. Over time this debris can result in premature breakdown of the machinery.
Some filters offer added protection. They can protect against illness-causing contaminants, filtering out bacteria and other microorganisms.

Efficiency Issues

Air filters come with MERV ratings. This stands for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The MERV rating ranges from 1 to 16 and lets you know how effective the filter is at doing its job. The higher the number, the fewer particles can pass through the filter. Filters with high ERV ratings (from 13-16) are typically used in commercial settings to remove smoke or in medical/hospital buildings.
Even though a high MERV number is beneficial in some environments, it may not necessarily make your air conditioner more efficient. You need the correct match with your AC system to make sure that the filter isn't restricting air flow and making your air conditioner work harder. This makes choosing the right air filter for your air conditioner absolutely important.

Cleaning Clogs

Along with choosing a filter that matches up with your air conditioner, you also need to make sure that it's clean. A dirty, dusty, or clogged filter can't do its job. The dirtier the filter gets, the harder your HVAC system has to work to pull the air through it. This increases energy usage and can cost you extra money.
Cleaning an air filter isn't a universal activity. Different types of air filters are made from different types of materials. Fiberglass filters protect against larger particles, are inexpensive, and require replacement - not cleaning. Pleated air filters are also inexpensive. They come in different sizes and filter to varying degrees (depending on the quality of filter that you choose). These also require replacement.
Electrostatic air filters use static electricity to attract the potential contaminants. These are permanent filters that you can clean. The more you use your AC system, the more you'll need to clean/replace the filter.
Does your AC need a new filtration system? If your air conditioner's filters aren't working as they should be, Action Air of Florida can help.


    501 N. Hudson St.
    ​Orlando, FL 32835

    Phone: 407-521-0400

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