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What Type of Air Filter Is Best for Your Air Conditioning Unit?

There are many different types of air filters and air conditioning cleaning systems used to not only filter the air in your home, but also protect the often costly heating or cooling equipment used to protect and maintain your unit. In this article we will cover some of the different types of air filters, and cleaning systems available to consumers.

Before we get into the details about air filters and air cleaning systems, it's important to understand why having a high efficiency air filter is so important. You might be, or might not be surprised, to find out that the air inside your home or apartment is far more contaminated and polluted than the air you and your family breathe outdoors. We are talking about the air you and your family breathe on a daily bases, most of the time.

The indoor air that you and your family breathe can be contaminated with micro-particles such as dust, smoke, and lint. In many homes, pet dander, mold, and bacteria, complicate the problem even more. In fact, 99% of the particles circulating in your home or apartment air are one micron and smaller which is less than 1/40th the diameter of a human hair. These micro particles can aggravate your allergies, and irritate your respiratory system or simply make your home or apartment dusty and dirty.

The most common air filter that you would find at a hardware store tends to be very basic only capturing very large particles, therefore not protecting you from the more dangerous contaminants floating through the air and eventually your lungs.

The first step to moving toward cleaning the indoor air in your home is to pay attention to the MERV rating of the air filter in your unit. A national organization, ASHRAE, developed the standard for testing air filters. With this test, the results are expressed in MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value). Simply stated, the higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the air filter will be in removing contaminants and pollutants from the airflow.

It is always best to try and find an air filter that fits your unit with the highest MERV rating available. If you would like to take it one step further, you can have a system added to your unit that uses HEPA technology, however this solution is often very expensive, and the replacement filters are also very costly. While HEPA filtration is very effective it is often times not necessary. Always be sure to choose an air filter with the highest MERV rating available.