Types of Central Air Conditioner Filters

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Central air conditioning units provide an efficient means of maintaining a comfortable interior environment during the warm summer months. The air conditioner filter is an important component of the unit. The filter helps remove pollutants from the interior air, and it helps keep the other components of the air conditioning system, such as the ducts, clean. There are a number of different types of air conditioner filters, but all types need to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis.

Conventional

  • Conventional central air conditioner filters are usually made of 1- to 2-inch-thick fiberglass encased in a fiberboard frame. These filters are often coated with an adhesive to improve their ability to contain dust, dirt and particulate matter. Conventional fiberglass filters are commonly used for residential and small commercial applications. They have the advantage of being inexpensive and disposable. Conventional filters should be changed at least once per month, or more frequently during hot months when the central air conditioning unit operates more frequently.

Pleated

  • Pleated central air conditioner filters are similar in nature to conventional filters in that they utilize a fiberglass base and are disposable. Pleated filters utilize a folded design that increases the surface area of the filter and increases its efficiency in trapping dust and dirt. The fiberglass material in this type of filter is typically more densely woven than conventional filters, which also improves its efficiency. Airconditioning-Filter.com warns that pleated filters can place an increased load on central air conditioning systems that are not designed to use them, which may result in higher operating and servicing costs. Homeowners should check their unit's specifications to ensure they are using the right type of filter.

HEPA

  • HEPA filters, or High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filters, must be able to remove particulate matter of only .3 microns, which is smaller than the eye can see, according to FurnaceFilterCare.com. HEPA air conditioner filters are more than 99 percent efficient and are capable for filtering out dirt, dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, most household allergens and dust mites. This type of filter may be appropriate for use in homes where the residents have allergies or other respiratory conditions that require highly-filtered air. HEPA filters are much more expensive than conventional or pleated filters, and homeowners should check their air conditioner's owner's manual to determine whether their central air conditioning unit can handle them.

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  • Photo Credit air conditioner, conditioning image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com
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