All You Need To Know About AC Air Filters and Improving Your Indoor Air Quality
- The air filter we should all be changing every month.
- The AC coils which catch the particulates that the air filter does not (not a good thing).
- Our lungs, which catch everything else (worst filter of all).
We have all heard that the EPA estimates that our inside air is 10 times more pollutant than the air we breathe outside, but where does that come from in Arizona homes?
What is the source of indoor air quality pollutants in Phoenix?
Duct leakage is present in every home, even new ones, and duct leakage, especially on the return side can be the reason why you have to dust your furniture off every week. When your air conditioner turns on, the return sucks air from inside the house and blows air out of the supply registers. Well, lots of times, the return duct is not sealed well and every time the return kicks on it sucks not only the inside air but also a good amount of attic air as well. How much? Try 10-20% on average. By sealing the return duct all the air that goes into the system now is coming from the house, not the attic.
What’s the best filter for indoor air quality?
You want to stay away from:
- 1” pleated filters
- Washable filters
Why, it seems like every store is promoting these filters as good filters? Wrong. These filters make the AC system work harder because they are restrictive. They don’t have enough surface area for the unit to breathe in, so it has to work harder and starts to over-amp the components. Have you had to replace your capacitor again and again? Look to restrictions in your ductwork and filter for the answer. Stay away from these filters at all costs, there are better options.
Filters that we recommend to all homeowners are:
- 4” HEPA filters
- 6” HEPA filters
These filters work very well as a filter and they don’t make the AC system work any harder. The 4” deep pleat give the unit plenty of surface area to breathe in without restrictions. They are more expensive but they last 6 months and a small investment beats having to replace your HVAC system or chronic health problems down the road.
Filters that are good, but not great are:
- The cheap 30 day throw away filters
These filters are inexpensive and they allow the AC unit to breath without restrictions. They are readily available however they do not filter as well as our 4” HEPA filter.
How often should you change your air filter?
Are washable/reusable air filters good?
On top of the restrictions washable filters take a long time to dry, leaving an open invitation for bacteria, mold and fungi to thrive. The MERV rating is also one of the lowest on the filtration scale, meaning that your home isn’t even getting a good filter from it. We encourage homeowners to get rid of their washable filter and go back to the 30 day filters.