Explore 7 AC Filter Types: Choose the Best for Your Home

A person holding an air conditioner in a room.

Discover the 7 Types of AC Filters

Changing your AC filter is a crucial maintenance task that will keep you healthy and prolong your appliance’s life. Some of the signs indicating it’s time for a new one include dust-covered air vents, high electricity bills, warm air coming out of the unit, and the list goes on. However, did you know that air filters come in various types? Choosing the best one for your home can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up below some of the top options you can consider.


Fiberglass or Spun Glass Air Filters

Fiberglass strands are spun together to create spun glass HVAC filters. These are among the most popular types due to their cost efficiency. They are also disposable and protect AC systems and furnaces from debris. Thus, you can never go wrong with fiberglass or spun glass when it comes to reliability and functionality. However, if you are looking for an air purifier, a more state-of-the-art option would be more appropriate.

Fiberglass air filters are not known for improving the quality of indoor air. They can only filter 20 percent of approximately 3.0 to 10.0 micron particles. Particles in this size include carpet fibers, pollen, and dust. Because of this, appliance repair experts do not recommend installing fiberglass air filters into your AC system if you or any members of the family have respiratory issues.

Pros: Spun glass air filters are reasonably priced. They are the cheapest filters available on the market. Yet, they are superb in catching and filtering dust and lint.

Cons: Because fiberglass filters come with a small surface area, they are not reliable in filtering smaller pollutants. These are not the perfect choice for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Pleated Filters

Cotton fold or polyester fabrics are two air filter components utilized in pleated filters. Featuring a MERV rating of between 5 and 13, these filters efficiently filter dust and other airborne pollutants while offering low air filtration and less airflow resistance. 

Pleated filters are more expensive than spun glass filters. That’s because they stand out when it comes to filtering contaminants. They can capture pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and other smaller particles. These filters are available in disposable and reusable versions.

Pros: These filters perform well in filtering smaller contaminants. They last longer and are sometimes recyclable. Thus, they can save you a lot of money.

Cons: These are costlier than other types of air conditioner filters, and there is also a possibility of restricting airflow. 

AC Filters

HEPA Filters

These are the most popular and efficient air filters available today. Did you know that HEPA filters can eliminate 99.97% of allergens and airborne pollutants in your home, which include pet dander, pollen, mold, dust, bacteria, smoke particles, and viruses? 

Because of the high efficiency of these filters, they are ideal for those with AC allergies or other respiratory issues. That’s why they are more expensive than pleated and spun glass filters. 

Pros: Extremely effective against small and large pollutant particles. They are also cost-efficient as they need to be replaced every few years. 

Cons: Fumes, gasses, smoke, and other smaller particles can still pass through the filter. Due to its high filtering capability, they may restrict airflow, which causes the AC efficiency to drop. You can contact a specialist in appliance repair Waco, TX for more information about HEPA filters. 

UV Light Filters

As the name suggests, UV light filters employ short-wave UV light to kill viruses and bacteria. When air passes into the AC system, the ultraviolet lamps disinfect it with germicidal radiation. These filters effectively kill microorganisms that can harm your well-being, like mold spores. 

However, there is also a risk of using these filters. There is a possibility of transforming oxygen into ozone, which can harm your health. Even low ozone levels can cause chest pain and coughing, while high levels can worsen your asthma. 

Moreover, even if UV light filters effectively kill viruses and bacteria, they are not as effective when filtering pollutants. 

Pros: These filters use UV light that can kill tough germs and mold, providing you superb indoor air quality that prevents illnesses and respiratory issues. 

Cons: Besides being expensive to install, these filters cannot eliminate pollutants like allergens. They are also ineffective in removing fumes, cigar smoke, and gasses. 

Electrostatic Filters

Though not so familiar, these are proven effective against pollutants. Electrostatic air filters emit static electricity by combining paper and cotton fibers. They also serve as a magnet by catching contaminants in the filter screen; thus, keeping the allergens from spreading in your house. So, these air filters are perfect for those with allergies.

Some electrostatic filters available are equipped with a carbon filter for better efficiency. They can be pleated or flat paneled and are available in disposable and washable versions.

Pros: Electrostatic is one of the cheapest filters available. It is offered in reusable and washable versions that can reduce costs even more.

Cons: These filters are efficient in catching smaller particles but unreliable in trapping larger ones.

Washable HVAC Air Filters

Washable air filters are considered the most eco-friendly filters available. You can find them in pleated and flat paneled forms. They are more expensive than disposable ones but effective in trapping pollutants.

To clean washable filters, you must vacuum or rinse them to eliminate impurities and dirt. Make sure they are fully dry before putting them back on. Using wet filters can result in the buildup of bacteria and mold, which will affect indoor air quality.

Pros: Eco-friendly and effective in catching pollutants

Cons: These filters require regular maintenance to maintain their effectiveness.

Media Filters

These filters contain a paper-like component folded into pleats inside a cabinet made of metal. Though they measure six inches, the pleated material can cover 75sq ft when unfolded. The increased surface areas make media filters more effective than their typical counterparts. What’s more, the surface areas account for the long lifespan of these filters, enabling them to last up to two years. 

An air conditioning repair company usually recommends media filters to those in industrial fields or with frail immune systems. 

Pros: These filters are relatively low maintenance since you have to change them twice a year. 

Cons: Media filters must be installed by a professional air conditioning repair company. So, DIYs won’t work. 


If you know there’s something wrong with your indoor air quality, then the problem has something to do with the AC’s air filter. On Point Service Company is committed to providing reasonably priced air conditioner repair services to ensure your health and comfort. If you live in Waco, TX, and need AC repair services for issues like AC not cooling, AC blowing warm air, or air filter installation, contact On Point Service Company today!


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