Different Types of Air-Conditioner Filters

With or without a filter, an air conditioner will run. However, allowing the unit to operate without a filter leaves the system open to various dirt, debris, and pollutants. The purpose of using filters on air conditioners is to keep the unit clean and to ensure that the air it blows is free of solid contaminants like dust, pollen, smoke, and grease. Read on to understand more about air conditioner filters and why it is essential to maintain them.

What is an Air-Conditioner Filter?

An air-conditioner filter is a filtering device that is made from fine fiberglass thread and a cardboard frame wrapped in fine paper or cloth. Its porous structure prevents large coarse particles from passing through.

As days pass by and this filter is used in the air conditioner, it tends to get dirty, dusty, and full of particles, thus affecting the quality of the air in the room and the efficiency of the unit. Therefore, it is necessary to clean the AC filters from time to time, especially during the windy season.

Minimum Efficiency Rating Values (MERV) of AC Filters

MERV ratings go from 1-16. This rating depends on the size of the particles and dirt that it can stop or filter.

  • MERV 1-4 – Filters less than 20% of particles 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size.
  • MERV 6 – Filters 49.9% or less of particles 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size.
  • MERV 8 – Filters 84.9% or less of particles 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size.
  • MERV 10 – Filters 50%-64.9% of particles 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size and at least 85% of particles 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size.
  • MERV 12 – Filters 80%-89.9% of particles 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size and at least 90% of particles  3.0 to 10.0 microns in size.
  • MERV 14 – Filters 75%-84% of particles 0.3 to 1.0 microns in size and at least 90% of particles 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size.
  • MERV 16 – Filters 75% of particles 0.3 to 1.0 microns in size.

Different Types of Air Conditioner Filters

Fiberglass Filters

Fiberglass filters are made with strands of fibers that spread out to the frame. They are intended to stop and filter harmful particles, thus the unit blows out clean and fresh air.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters are made with polyester or cloth materials that are in a pleated accordion arrangement. The cloth is used to stop the dust from flowing with the air.

Washable Filters

Similar to pleated cloth filters, washable filters are also made from cloth and can be washed and reused over and over again. This type of air-conditioner filter is relatively inexpensive, but it is not suitable for high-intensity use.

How to Maintain AC Filters

It is necessary to perform regular air-conditioner filter cleaning and maintenance to ensure that the air is clean and to prolong the lifespan of the unit. Begin by checking if the filter is already loaded with dust and dirt. Take the filter out for cleaning. You can wash it if it is washable, and if not, you can use a vacuum cleaner or air hose to remove the particles from the filter.



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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