Air filters capture a number of unwanted contaminants in the air such as bacteria, dust, pollen and even smoke. The filter is critical to the quality of air in your home. If your filter is not properly functioning or it is too small or dirty, the performance level of your air conditioner or heating system will be considerably reduced.

Some of the problems that may result from an improperly maintained air filter include: increased blower power consumption, reduced cooling or heating, compressor failure and higher heating and cooling costs. A well-designed, effectively working filter is crucial in the performance of your air conditioner.

Maintaining the filter in your air conditioner can also be a difficult task, especially if you are unaware of what is involved in the process. Typically, a home air conditioner filter will need to be replaced every six months. A business or office air filter will require more frequent replacing and may need to be changed every couple of months or so. It is important to know that some filters only need to be cleaned (as opposed to replaced) on a regular basis, but you must check the label before assuming they can be cleaned and not replaced.

The size of the filter is another critical factor associated with the performance of both your filter and your air conditioning system as a whole. Generally, your filter should have 1½ square feet of filter for each ton of capacity. One square foot is the absolute minimum requirement in order for your filter to remain effective.

There are also a number of types of air conditioner filters to choose from, including:
• Fiberglass throwaway filters
• pleated fiberglass throwaway filters
• permanent mesh filters
• electrostatic filters
• and electronic filters.

Fiberglass filters are not as effective as most other air conditioner filters available; however, they are more affordable.