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How to Find the Best Air Conditioner Filter

How to Find the Best Air Conditioner Filter

Imagine this: you arrive home from work and put your air conditioner on. After sitting in your living room for about an hour, the temperature doesn’t feel significantly cooler. No, your air conditioner isn’t broken — it’s time to change the filter. When it comes to changing a filter, many overlook this simple step because they don’t know which filter to choose. No need to fear — we’ll break it down for you here!

Leslie H_C - July 20, 2017

MERV Ratings

This popular abbreviation stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and is a key feature to look for when purchasing a new air filter. To use MERV ratings efficiently, look at the numbers and see how low/high they land — they’ll range from 1 to 20. If the number is quite low (1-10), that means the filter will pick up less debris and will have to be replaced more often. Now, if the number is on the high end of the spectrum (11-20), it will pick up more airborne particles and will have to be replaced less frequently.


When it comes to air conditioner filters (a.k.a. mechanical air filters), there are four types you should know: fiberglass, pleated, high-efficiency and true high-efficiency (True HEPA). Each of these filters has different characteristics, ultimately giving you a different air quality experience. For your convenience, we’ve made a “cheat sheet” below:

Fiberglass Air Filter

-Very thin panel.

-Removes approximately 10% of airborne debris.

-MERV rating: lowest (1-4)

Pleated Air Filter

-More pleated panels; removes more particles, with higher frequency of air pressure

-Removes approximately 45% of airborne debris

-MERV rating: low (10-13)

High-Efficiency Air Filter

-Complex filter panel

-Removes about 85% of airborne debris

-MERV rating: high (14-16)

True High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter (True HEPA)

-High quality filter panel, BUT must have separate HEPA Filtration installed to function

-Removes about 98% of airborne debris

-MERV rating: highest (17-20)

At Leslie Heating & Cooling, we want you to trust your family with ours! We’re dedicated to keeping you comfortable and helping you save on cooling costs. We are a family-owned and operated business based in Woodridge, Illinois and are here for all of your HVAC installation and maintenance needs.


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