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Is Your Air Conditioner Really Cleaning the Air?

germs-black-background-blueYou probably already know that your air conditioning system has a filter. And many people assume that the filter in their air conditioning system is doing an adequate job of filtering out allergens and other pollutants and keeping the air clean. But were you aware this is not the filter’s primary job?

As it is set up now, your air conditioner may not really be cleaning the air. Luckily, there are many solutions to poor indoor air quality, and we’ll give you some information here. For the best indoor air quality advice and customized systems just for your home, call your local AC technicians. Contact our team for AC service in Plainfield, IL!

How your filter works (and why it might miss some pollutants)

Today, filters are able to filter out many of the particles in the air that can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Natural or synthetic fibers trap particulate before it can get sucked into the air conditioning system, but there’s another reason for this. Originally, the air filter was designed and engineered in order to block particles from pummeling the AC unit and damaging its components. This is its primary job.

If you have a basic air filter in your home—one with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of about 1-4, the standard in most homes—it might miss some of the particulate that’s a primary concern for your air quality. Some of the contaminants that are the smallest are the most harmful, like mold spores and bacteria, and these might pass right through the standard fiberglass filter.

The problem with choosing a “better” filter

You might think that you can simply choose a “better” air filter and get the cooling and health benefits you need. Unfortunately, this might not be the case. Pleated filters are designed that way because the folds give the filter additional space, increasing the surface area of the filter to catch more particulate. That’s why, if you find a pleated filter at the store, it may be rated at about 5-8 on the MERV scale.

The problem is that filters that are rated higher for filtration of allergens and irritants can often block airflow from moving in through the system.

Your air conditioner needs a set amount of airflow to function properly. Without it, not only are you less comfortable, but your air conditioner may break down, short-cycle, or freeze. A better filter will not solve your air quality issues if your air conditioner is not working!

Is this a job for a professional HVAC technician?

A professional air conditioning technician may be able to help you ensure that your central air system is really cleaning the air as it moves into your home. Typically, this involves recommending a separate air purifier that will not block the air and harm the AC system. For example…

  • UV lights in the HVAC system can kill germs before they recycle in the air.
  • An electronic air purifier neutralizes particles in the air using ionization rather than a filter media that could block airflow.

For more information about the air quality products available in your area, call a local HVAC technician.

Johansen & Anderson offers air conditioning and indoor air quality service in Plainfield, IL. Call us today!

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