Facts About Home Air Filters - living room with couches

Facts About Home Air Filters

Winter is finally giving way to the warmer weather you’ve been longing for. Your heater will finally get a well-deserved time-out, and your air conditioner will be next in the lineup. Get ready with a little spring training to shape-up your system for its upcoming summer activity.

Keep your AC fit with a spring air filter change:

Changing your air filter is more than a warm-up for your AC’s summer workout. A dirty, old air filter will force your system to breathe harder than it should, decreasing efficiency and comfort, and increasing your energy bills and carbon footprint.

Breathe right.

A dirty air filter doesn't just make your system breathe harder, it is hard on your lungs as well, creating poor indoor air quality.

Get a head start with the right filter.

Today a variety of air filters are available for meeting your air quality needs. Rated on a MERV scale of 1-16, higher numbers indicate finer filtration.

Throw-away & Electrostatic

  • In the MERV 1-8 range, these inexpensive filters remove large particles of dirt, dust, pollen and animal hair. MERV ratings are typically not advertised on the packaging.

Cartridge & Pleated

  • These MERV 5-8 rated filters remove mold, spores, dust mites and droppings, animal dander, hairspray, dusting aids and more, making them a great choice for homeowners.

Box & Bag

  • MERV 9-16 rated filters, in addition to trapping the particles described in the above filters, remove smoke, insecticide dust, bacteria and droplets, such as from a sneeze or cough.


  • Rated at MERV 17-20, HEPA filters are not designed for use in residential air conditioners.

Don’t overdo it.

Running out and buying a MERV 16 air filter may not be what’s best for your system - or you. Unless you have respiratory issues, a mid-range air filter no higher than a MERV 8 should be sufficient. In addition, upgrading to an air filter with a tighter weave reduces airflow. Check with your professional Aire Serv®technician before upgrading to a higher rated filter. This will ensure you aren’t putting too much strain on your system with your new filter choice.

Avoid “performance enhancements.”

You will not get “a little more” out of your air filter by attempting to clean it. Don’t vacuum or try to wash and re-use your filter if it is disposable. Vacuuming loosens and releases dirt, dust, and toxins into your home, and also damages the filter. Wet filters breed mold and bacteria.

Stay in prime-shape.

Checking your filter monthly and changing it at least every three months, or when the seasons change, is essential to giving your system the stamina it needs to make it through the summer. Need help remembering when air filter needs changing? Nor worries, Aire Serv has you covered! Sign up for our reminders here!Link opens in a new tab

How fit is your system? Contact Aire Serv for a professional AC service and inspection today.