We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Air Conditioning Filters?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Air conditioning filters are devices that keep dust and dirt from both clogging the air conditioning system and contaminating the air. In a building, the filter is usually inserted into the large air return duct. As air is pulled through the filter, dust and dirt are trapped in the fibers. A good filter can also be responsible for trapping allergens. All filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly.

It is important to ensure air conditioning filters are clean and are the right size for the air conditioning unit. A filter that is too small or a filter that is dirty can have several adverse effects. Effects include raising the amount of power the unit consumes, reducing cooling or heating, and contributing to the unit’s failure. The right filter will help keep the air and the air conditioning system clean and functioning properly.

There are several types of air conditioning filters. The first type is the fiberglass filter. It is the cheapest and typically only traps large particles, leaving smaller particles to travel through the air. These filters are not made to be cleaned but instead must be replaced. It is important to make sure these filters are not in use while they are dirty because it may cause the system to overwork.

Pleated fiberglass air conditioning filters are more efficient at trapping dirt. The material it uses is more densely woven together. Thus as air passes through the fibers, more dust and dirt are able to be trapped. The surface of these filters is also pleated which increases the surface area. This means that a pleated filter will be able to trap more dust than a flat filter of the same size.

Permanent mesh air conditioning filters can be made from different types of material. As such, their effectiveness can vary. These filters, however, are washable. After washing, some must be sprayed with adhesive to trap dust and dirt. They may also need to be changed eventually because of wear and tear.

Electrostatic air conditioning filters are made from material that produces a charge when air passes through it. This charge attracts dirt and dust from the air and holds it to the surface until it can be washed off. Electric air conditioning filters are similar except it uses an electrical power source to do its work. It is composed of a pre-filter and a main filter that work together to filter the air. The pre-filter traps large particles, and the main filter traps smaller ones.

High-efficiency particulate arresting filters, or HEPA filters, are possibly the most effective filters. They are said to remove 99.97% of particles that have a diameter of 0.3 micrometers—smaller than the diameter of human hair. In this filter, the fibers are randomly arranged. It also contains pleats which increase surface area, making for a more effective air filtering system. HEPA filters are also used in vacuums and in hospital rooms.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon39758 — On Aug 04, 2009

when the filter of a mobile air conditioning gets blocked,can it be repaired?

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.