When it comes to selecting the right filter for your air conditioner, there are a few important factors to consider. Washable air filters tend to have a lower MERV rating and are less efficient than high-quality disposable filters. However, cost is also a factor, so it's important to weigh all of these variables before making a decision. Generally, filters come with performance ratings of Best, Good, or Premium.
If you suffer from allergies, it's best to opt for the premium filters when you can afford them. The higher the rating, the better the filtration will be. Maintenance is another key factor to take into account when comparing washable and disposable air filters. To extend the life of your air conditioner and ensure the safety of your home, you should install an HVAC surge protector before the hottest weather hits. Before buying a new filter, make sure to note (or take a picture) of the size printed on the filter frame.
Some air conditioning systems have filters inside the return air ducts scattered throughout several rooms in the house, so it's important to check all of them. Air filters come in a variety of standard sizes, and some can be adapted to fit different sized filter boxes or air return openings. Be sure to install the new filter facing the correct direction - look for arrows on the filter frame that indicate the direction of air flow. If you need a thicker filter, your HVAC professional can install a small cabinet next to the boiler or air controller (on the air intake side). You may need to change your filter more often if you have pets or live in an area with high levels of air pollution. When it comes to choosing an HVAC filter, it's essential to remember that they are designed to protect both the mechanical components of the boiler and the indoor air quality of your home from particles suspended in the air.
HEPA filters are very effective but tend to restrict airflow too much for most residential forced air systems. The MERV standard is mainly used to measure the performance of filters designed for forced air conditioning systems. If you buy a filter that is too big or too small, it won't fit or filter the air properly. Overall, when selecting a washable filter for your air conditioner, it's important to consider cost, maintenance, and performance ratings. Make sure to check all of your filters and install them facing the correct direction.
If you need help determining what size filter you should order for your specific furnace, contact customer service or your local HVAC contractor.