Air conditioner filters are designed to keep dust and debris out of your air conditioning unit. Without a filter, allergens and other small particles would be transported through your home's ductwork, which can pose a serious health problem for those with allergies or respiratory diseases. Air conditioning filters can be broadly categorized into three broad categories. Understanding the differences between these three categories can help you choose the type of filter that best fits your needs.
Mechanical Air Filters
Mechanical air filters are the most common type of filter available on the market, and can be either made out of fiberglass or charcoal fibers, which will filter out any small particles in the air. Mechanical air filters can come in two thicknesses: either one inch, or two. Obviously, a two inch filter will be more effective at removing particles from the air, and will cost a bit more. However, all mechanical air filters are fairly inexpensive, which makes them ideal for all air conditioning units, no matter your budget. However, mechanical air filters are also the most fragile, and can be easily damaged while they are being cleaned. If this occurs, the entire filter will have to be replaced.
Pleated Air Filters
Pleated air filters are filters that are made out of folded synthetic fabrics. The pleats throughout the filter are designed to increase the surface area of the filter, which allows it to remove more pollutants from the air than mechanical air filters, as there is a higher density of fibers per inch. Pleated air filters are also much more durable than mechanical air filters, though they do take much longer to clean due to the pleats. However, pleated air filters are also more expensive than mechanical air filters, which may be restrictive for some homeowners.
Electric Air Filters
Electric air filters are extremely effective at removing all airborne dust and allergens. They work by using static electricity to attract any airborne particles. This makes electric air filters much more effective than pleated or mechanical air filters. However, it should be noted that electric air filters need to be changed every few months (the exact length of time depends on the size and model of the filter). Additionally, electric air filters are much more expensive than either mechanical or pleated air filters, which may make them a less viable option for homeowners who are operating under a tight budget. For further assistance, contact a local air conditioning repair professional.