Types Of Air Filters Used In Your Air Conditioners

Today Air Conditioner is almost an essential machine for our daily life. There are many different types of filters in air conditioners to enhance the effectiveness of it. The filter in it plays the leading role in airflow and the cleansing of the air. All of the conditioned air produced by the air conditioning unit must pass through the filter before entering your home. As it passes through the air filter, particles of dust, mold spores, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses become embedded in the filter’s pores.

Can AC work without filter?

Air conditioner will run without a filter, but without a filter, the system-wide open to all types of dirt and debris that will damage the HVAC system and lead to expensive repairs. If your filer goes for replacement and you are running it for just 1-2 night then it will not affect too much. Note: Running the AC any longer than 1-2 nights without any filter risks serious damage to your Air conditioner and poor indoor air quality.

Locations of AC filters:

The filter is usually located in the return air duct or blower compartment before the return air reaches the air handler. This allows the filter to clean the air coming from your house before it enters the HVAC unit.

This filter affects the energy efficiency and lifespan of  AC as well as health. In this article we will talk about various  types of filters, their uses, the working process and there pros and cons… 

Types of filters in Air conditioners : 

PM 2.5 Filter:

ac pm 2.5 filter

You cannot control the pollution levels outdoors as it involves various factors as well as indoor air. PM 2.5 Filter is specially designed to trap the microparticles from the air. It is necessary to purify the indoor air that we breathe. So you can install AC units having PM 2.5 filter and improve the quality of the indoor air.

This filter is consists of polytetrafluoroethylene(PTFE) membrane which reduces friction. This membrane filter is applicable in gauging air quality through EPA test method and can trap the microparticles effectively.

  • It is so useful as it removes the minutest of pollutants
  • It will cost less compared to the HEPA filter.
  • It is an essential constituent of the modern-day AC.

  • It cannot trap impurities less than 2.5 microns in diameter

Fiberglass Air Filter:

ac fiberglass air filter

These filters, made from thin-spun fiberglass are not that expensive, will cost just a few rupees each. However, they’re also one of the least efficient. While a fiberglass filter will be easy on  budget but it may not be so great for indoor air quality.

  • These filters are very inexpensive and are sufficient for people with no allergies or asthma.

  • They usually have a MERV rating of 2-3 and can remove only large particles from the air.
  • This filter has very little efficiency in actually cleaning the air.


Pleated Air Filter:


Pleated air filters will be a cost-effective and efficient option, as they are able to trap smaller airborne particles than fiberglass filters. When it comes to pleated filters, the more pleats the better.

  • These air filters come with higher MERV ratings so they’re much more efficient in removing smaller  particles from the air.
  • Along with doing a better job of cleaning the air, they’re still pretty inexpensive.
  • Environmental friendly.
  • Disposable pleated filters are a great choice for those who aren’t particularly sensitive to atmospheric pollutants but still want to maintain a clean environment.

  • The filter is prone to having dirt build upon them, so you need first make sure to get the right furance filter size and second, replace them at regular intervals to ensure that your unit is working as well as possible.
  • This filter also restricts the airflow to your HVAC system, so you have to  select the correct MERV rating otherwise your system could be damaged.

Electrostatic Air Filter:

ac Electrostatic Air Filter

These filters cost a little more but are also more efficient to keep the  air clean. Electrostatic filters use self-charging fibers that attract and trap airborne particles with static electricity.

  • It catches a lot of small particles in the air, which makes them well-suited for households.
  • It also designed to catch smoke particles, so they’re recommended for those who smoke indoors.
  • It also comes with high MERV rating.

  • This filter can be more costly to replace. If you end up experiencing the need to repair or replace them, you’re going to be spending quite a bit. In example some units will need custom sized filters, and these will be a lot more expensive. 

High-Efficiency Air Filters:

If you have  pets in the house or anyone in your family has allergies or asthma, a high-efficiency filter is perfect for you. They are by far the most efficient at trapping particles and keeping your air clean and healthy. Keep in mind, however, that some high efficiency filters may be so good at trapping particles that they actually restrict airflow. Consult an AC professional before purchasing a high-efficiency filter to make sure it won’t damage your system.

  • This filter able to catch minuscule air-borne particles and remove them from the atmosphere.
  • It  maximizes the cleanliness of the environment.
  • It has a higher MERV rating of at least 13, so the filter to be used to prevent the spread of illnesses, and it is  recommended to those with health problems such as respiratory issues.

  • The filter is very thick because it is designed to remove so many pollutants from the atmosphere and so they can only be installed in certain homes.
  • Due to the high-quality of the filter, it’s obvious that replacements and repairs will also add to the costs of maintaining it, that’s why it is not recommended for households without the health needs of optimal air cleanliness. 

HEPA filter:

HEPA Air Filter_

The technology for this air filter was developed originally during WWII for removing the dust particles that were radioactive from air to protect the respiratory systems of soldiers.

When someone inhales air contaminants, the natural defense of the human body is a lot more vulnerable to the particles under 0.5 microns. That’s the reason why these types of filters are recommended by doctors and allergists – they can remove most air contaminants even when they are extremely tiny.

HEPA filters can remove all contaminants above since they’re bigger than 0.3 microns. These filters can’t capture fumes, cigarette smoke, and chemicals because they have smaller microns than 0.3. That’s the reason that you want to buy this type of filter that has a carbon filter that’s activated so that they are able to capture the allergens that the filter can’t.

  • Can remove allergens such as dust, dust mites, mold spores, and pollen, bacteria
  • The captured solid particles aren’t released back into your air.

  • Is not able to remove odors, cigarette smoke or chemical fumes.
  • Is not much effective when capturing tiny viruses
  • The microorganisms that the filter captures are able to reproduce or breed, which means that there are more populations of microorganisms.

Activated Carbon filter:

ac activated carbon filter

This filter has little absorbent pores in them that react chemically to the pollutants as they’re going through it. This is what causes pollutants and carbon to bond so that they are trapped. This filter is good at clearing odors, chemicals, smoke, and gases from the air.

  • They absorb the best of all filters.
  • Capture gases, odors, cigarette smoke and chemical fumes
  • Don’t release the contaminants into air again

  • Can’t remove microorganisms.
  • Can’t remove allergens such as dust.

Ionic Filter:

This filter is built around negative ion generators. It sends out a negative ion stream that will attract positive airborne allergen and dust particles. Because of this, the particles will become really heavy and will fall onto the ground. As most room surfaces tend to be positively charged, those particles are also attracted to those surfaces. That means the spots around this type of filter will get some dark spots on the nearby floors and walls. There are some of the ionizers that have electrostatic precipitators. These trap the particles on metal plates. To keep their effectiveness, it’s essential that the plates are regularly cleaned.


  • Can remove so much tiny particles that are as little as just 0.01 microns.
  • Can sterilize viruses, smoke, bacteria and other kinds of toxic fumes.
  • It remains quiet when running because there aren’t any motors or fans.

  • It can remove particles from the air but doesn’t remove them from a room. *Particles will land on the walls, furniture, and floor. They also may go back into the air.
  • It produces ozone as It’s by-product. 

Ultraviolet Light filter:

This filter uses UV light with electromagnetic radiation. This destroys pathogens such as bacteria by ending up the pathogens’ molecular bonds within the DNA. This filter kills the particles without any type of filtration.

This filter will work well for killing molds, viruses, yeasts, and bacteria which could be floating around in your air.

The best performance happens when these types of air filters are used with other kinds. This way they are able to work with one another so that a lot more air contaminant types are removed, like allergens, chemical fumes, and odor which this type of filter can’t remove.

  • Can destroy microorganisms as mold, bacteria,  germs etc
  • It helps by preventing disease and illness.

  • Can’t remove the vast part of dust, solids or allergens from air.
  • Can’t remove gases, cigarette smoke or chemical fumes.

Benefits of AC filters:

  1. Filters can improve the quality of your indoor air. For this, it benefits asthma patients and children a lot by providing significant relief from air pollution-related problems.
  2. They enhance the performance levels of your air conditioning units, end up saving a lot on your electricity bills.
  3. The indoor air remains clean and pollution-free due to the less dust, pollen, virus, bacteria etc floating in the air.
  4. These filters give your AC a longer lifespan. As a result, it saves you from thousands of money in system replacement costs.
  5. Filters help to build up the cooling capacity of your AC. So the indoor air remains cool and fresh.

If you don’t use filter in AC:

The filter’s job in AC is to keep the unit clean, especially the blower motor and evaporator coils. Dirt can be the main cause of air conditioner and heating system breakdowns.

If you choose to run your AC without filter, you may face many problems as like

Condensate Drain Problems:

Without a filter in air conditioner, a condensate drain won’t be able to perform its job of draining condensation and moisture from the unit. It may cause water damage to your system.

Decrease the quality of indoor air:

The most common problem with running an air conditioner without a filter is the air quality problem. Dust is moved out in a home when the AC unit is running and continuously cycles throughout the air. The dirt, dust, and other pollens sucked back up through the intake, pumped back through the air vents, and remains suspended in the air until someone breathes it in or it clogs the unit. It will cause of air pollution related diseases and will dangerous for asthma patients.

Feron tube problem :

An air conditioner pulls air from your home and blows it across copper tubes filled with Freon. These tubes always remain wet and when unfiltered air blows across them, dirt and other pollens stick to the condensate and coat the fins. When this occurs, your system cannot perform efficiently and overloads your air conditioning system.

Final talk:

So we have talked about different types of filters in Air Conditioner. By using the information you can choose your filter which is better for your AC. You might want to use a couple of them together to get the best air quality in your home. Check out their pros and cons and see what they have to offer to you. Then you can choose the one that works best for your needs and the health of you and your family.

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