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Air Conditioner Filters Tutorial

Copyright 2006 Raymond Burton

One of the most important things to maintain on your new cooling unit is the air conditioner filter. Dirt and debris in the filter will reduce the air flow and thus the effectiveness of your conditioning unit. Once your air conditioners filtering unit becomes very clogged with dirt and debris, those dirt particles will bypass the filter and start messing up the air quality along with the machines working parts.

While some air conditioner filters can be cleaned and reused, some need to be replaced altogether. If the filter on your cooling system can be replaced, it should be done or at least checked every month or two. Just like in any machine, the frequency that you change your air conditioning filters depends on the external operating conditions. Dusty environments combined with heavy use will speed up the need for a cleaning or replacement of your systems filters.

Traditionally most simple air conditioning unit filters were made from foam, fiberglass or another washable screen type material. These air conditioner filters collect particles via a sticky surface of oil or similar substance. One draw back with foam units is that there is a risk of small foam particles mixing into the expelled air. The second is that foam air conditioner filters wear out quicker than some more modern conditioning unit filter types.

The newest type of air conditioner filter is the electrostatic mesh. Electrostatic filters are neat in the way that they filter air compared to the old “sticky grab” method. The movement of air across the air conditioners synthetic weave of fibers creates a static charge that collects the dust on the filters surface. A side benefit to this electric charge on the filters surface is that is creates ozone which helps to kill bacteria and unpleasant odors.

You should change your air conditioner filters at regular intervals because when your filter is new, it grabs up to 10% of the dust and particles that cross over its oil filmed surface. As time passes more dust gets trapped in the filter, which is a good thing, but all those extra particles will cause less air flow to get through. By keeping your conditioning unit inspected and maintained at regular intervals will not only save you money in electric bills and repairs but also keep you air quality supremely conditioned.

What is the best make of air conditioner filter? As with all types of consumer products, there will varying opinions and lots of marketing to deal with. Often when trying to find a new product the best thing to do is ask the opinion of others. Air conditioner filters are no different. There are several websites and forums where you can go and look through the consumer reviews and make a better decision as to what air conditioner filter would best suit your needs.