Air Conditioning Filters
Which Ones Should You Use?

Air Conditioning Filters were originally created to protect air conditioning units from dust and dirt building up on coils, fan motors, and blower wheels.

This is because dirt and dust on your a/c components ultimately leads to pre-mature failure of your a/c system, causing coils to freeze, blower wheels to carry more weight than designed, and blower motors and compressors to fail.

As time progressed and homes became more air tight, the EPA found that their was a need for better indoor air filtration for health reasons.

ASHRAE - The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioner Engineers created the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) system for rating different air filters and their effectiveness at removing airborne particles. MERV values vary from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV value, the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles.

Which Air Conditioning Filters to Use
From An A/C Technicians Perspective

If their are enough restrictions to airflow in an a/c system it will result in pre-mature system failure. So it would be fair to say, actually, it is a FACT that an Air Conditioning system operates best when there are no restrictions to airflow.

However, adding air conditioning filters to an Air Conditioning System restricts this airflow to some degree, (more or less depending on the type of air filter used) but the air filter is a necessity because it also helps prevent dirt and dust build up from accumulating onto your coils, fan motors, and blower wheels - again (more or less depending on the type of air filter used) which over time, if the wrong air filter was used, could rapidly restrict air flow and cause the above problems.

So we know that an air filter is a restriction but it's also a necessity to prevent further restrictions. What do you think happens when your air filter gets dirty? That's right! It restricts more air flow.


Dirty Air Conditioning Filters

Dirty air conditioning filters cause several problems in your system including increased operating costs (utility expenses), lower comfort levels, compressor damage, and reduced humidity removal.

Keeping your air filters clean means clean system operation, lower electric bills, better dehumidification, better air flow, improved cooling, and a cleaner home.


MERV Rated Air Filters and What They Mean for You and Your Residential A/C Unit

The bottom line is that higher MERV rated air conditioning filters MERV 9 thru 12 are more efficient at trapping airborne particles, which is a better option for preventing air restrictions in your ac units coils, and they are a better option for indoor air quality(allergy sufferers) However, this same higher MERV rated filter may also cause the efficiency of your a/c unit to under perform if not changed frequently enough. Most residential systems can handle up to a 12 MERV rating without any problems, but more frequent air filter changes are highly recommended.

Lower MERV rated filters MERV 1 thru 4 are less efficient at trapping airborne particles, which initially is good for your a/c systems performance, but gradually dirties your coils and causes parts to prematurely fail, ultimately causing more unseen problems down the road. Not to mention that they do absolutely nothing for your indoor air quality.

This leaves us with MERV 5 thru 8 and ultimately to our sweet spot! That's right, a filter that doesn't restrict too much airflow, but also does an awesome job at capturing airborne particles to protect your a/c unit and to protect your health.

 
The Sweet Spot
From a Technicians Perspective


As seen from the MERV rating chart below, MERVs 1-4 have a less than 20% efficiency at removing airborne particles. This means that up to 80% of the airborne particles passes through these air filters and lands on the coils of your unit and on your lungs.

MERVs 5-7 have an efficiency of 20% to 69%.

And MERV 8 has a 70% to 85% efficiency.

MERVs 9-12 have a 85% to 90% efficiency.

Any MERV rating above 12 should NOT be used for residential purposes. MERVs 13-16 are used mainly for commercial, industrial, hospitals, and clean rooms.

Our Sweet Spot is the MERV 8 Air Filter. As it's the most efficient filter at trapping the 3 to 10 sized micron particles before getting into the more highly restrictive air filters - (9 and up) which trap 1 to 3 sized micron particles, and all the way down to .3 to 1 micron.

If you are an allergy sufferer, I wouldn't put a price tag on your health and would go with the MERV 12 Air Filter.

However, if you're looking for the BEST all around air filter that contains the perfect balance between your health and the health and efficiency of your a/c unit, the MERV 8 Wins hands down!

To View the Chart Below:

Use the scroll wheel on your mouse. Press and hold the ^ Ctrl key; then scroll up with your mouse's scroll wheel or laptop's trackpad to zoom in.

Or Alternatively, press and hold the ^ Ctrl key, then press + to zoom in.

What About FPR and MPR Ratings?

FPR (Filter Performance Rating) and MPR (Micro Particle Rating) are rating systems that were developed by home improvement and air filter manufacturers. They are not related nor can they be compared to MERV ratings.

These ratings systems are not endorsed by ASHRAE, (The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioner Engineers) and we do not recommend using filters not rated under the MERV system for two (2) reasons.

1. First of all, it's better to leave an Air Conditioners air filtration to Air Conditioning Engineers. After all, they designed and built the units.

2. Secondly, these other ratings leave to much to question as to their efficiency and the effects that they will have on your a/c unit. Are you willing to roll the dice?


Periodic Air Conditioning Maintenance checks and cleanings should be performed on your air conditioner.

By using the proper Air Conditioning Filters, changing your air filter frequently, and performing regular maintenance checks and cleanings, you can rest assured that you'll have proper air flow delivery, increased comfort level, healthier indoor air, and better dehumidification.

A/C Handyman
Air Conditioning & Heating
Repair & Service
1334 W. Pepper Pl
Mesa, Arizona 85201

Open: 24hrs/7days
Call: 480-343-2530

Air Conditioning Phoenix and the following cities in Arizona: Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Gold Canyon, Apache Junction, and Florence.

Types of systems we service: Air Conditioner, Heat Pump, Gas Heating, Furnace, and Electric Heat.

Brands we service:

All major brands including: Mastercool, Trane, Amana, Ruud, Goodman, Carrier, York, Goettl, Payne, Lennox, Rheem, Bryant, Heil, Kenmore, and Coleman.

Return from Air Conditioning Filters to Air Conditioning Maintenance

Air Conditioning Reviews

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Easy to work with great service

by George Arechiga
(Arizona/California)

I manage 2 duplex units a total of 4 homes in Arizona and when I need service I call the A/C handyman. He is easy to work with and I don't feel like he is over charging me he has very good rates. And he shows up when he says he will. I really like his service.

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Honest Air Conditioner Repair

by Ethel Duplisea
(Mesa, AZ)

Bradley was recommended to me by a family member. It was one of the best reommendations I have received in some time. A/C Handyman is on time, proffesional and charges a fair price. Thank you Bradley.

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Quick and Excellent Service

by Russ
(Mesa, AZ)

My A/C wasn't blowing cool, so I called at 7:00 am on a Friday. He showed up at 8:30 (when he said he would BTW) the same day! Added freon, and didn't try any hard sell tactics. Would highly recommend his services.

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Delivered on his Promises

by John Birch
(2482 E Waterview Place, Chandler, AZ, 85249, USA)

I saw Bradley's company in a comparison against most all the other Hvac companies in my area... while others sounded good, I was not impressed with what customers wrote about their service and fairness on pricing.... I think Bradley is extremely honest and you really do get pricing that is half of the other HVAC companies... Nice! Bradley is also the owner which I like. Nothing like dealing directly with the person that owns the business that you are buying from!!

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Honest Work!

by Leah Vega
(Gilbert, AZ)

We have two air conditioning units in our home, and every year before the hot weather hits we like to get our air conditioning units serviced to make sure they are working in the most optimum condition. The gentleman that came out to service our units was very courteous and professional. I will definitely be using this company in the future for all of my a/c service needs.

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Fair, Honest, and Responsive

by Les
(Scottsdale, AZ)

I called Brad early sunday AM. By 10:00 AM, the air was cold and I was relieved not to have a ridiculous bill. I have had some bad experiences with AC companies in the past but his timeliness, friendly manner, and fair prices were a huge relief. Brad's my AC guy from now on... thanks Brad!

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Found my AC guy! Thanks

by John Shumway
(Queen Creek, AZ)

I do IT consulting on my own so I thought that there must be smaller companies with hard working honest guys around that do AC work. Google brought up Bradley's web page, and actually read the testimonials and thought I would give him a shot. Bradley came and diagnosed the problem to be a motor, he spent an hour making sure, and returned after obtaining the part and finishing up the other work he had scheduled that day which ended up being 11:00pm to replace it so my family could get some sleep. NO WAY would a large company have come that late, at least not without extreemly heavy fees. Thanks for the fair price and Excellent service!

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Quick and good service!

by Joe Andreyka
(Gold Canyon, AZ, USA)

We got fast service when we needed it, and our a/c problems were solved, and our service rep was courteous and dependable.

Thank you! Joe and Janice Andreyka

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Quick Service!

by Valerie & Don
(Apache Junction, AZ)

Brad had all the parts necessary for fixing our unit quickly. I would highly recommend his services. The charges were very reasonable.

Thank you for your expertise and very Quick Service!

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Excellent Service and Knowledge

by Randall Thompson
(La Habra, CA)

I live in California and own a rental in Mesa, Az. I have used Brad as my A/C guy for a few years now because he is always there when I need him and I feel that he is honest and upfront with all details of the job. He knows A/C repair very well and gets right to the problem. Being from out-of-state I feel vulnerable to unreputable servicemen. I feel lucky to have found Brad.

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Quality Service That is Reliable and Dependable

by Laura Foster
(Phoenix, AZ)

Brad is the AC expert that I rely on for all repairs and questions. In fact, we are buying a new A/C unit through Brad and he will be installing it this month! I recommend him to all of our friends. He is honest, extremely knowledgeable and reliable. He comes when you need him and you can always bank on what he tells you!

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Dependable, Professional Service

by Doug Hersho
(Houston, Texas)

Having a rental property in Gilbert Arizona while living in Houston Texas requires reliable contractors that you can depend on for servicing. A/C Handyman has filled this requirement beyond expectations. One phone call is all it takes and you know that you don't have to worry about constant followup. Bradley will see to it that the problem is analyzed, reported back to you and repaired as required professionally. I highly recommend their service.