Are Pleated Air Conditioner Filters Really Better Than Disposable Fiberglass Filters?
As air conditioner filters continue to advance, many people still choose to stick with their traditional disposable fiberglass filters. However, this no longer makes sense. Here is a quick overview of why you should throw away your fiberglass filter for the last time and pick up a new pleated filter.
Fiberglass Air Conditioner Filters
Throwaway fiberglass filters have been proven to only hold a maximum filtration efficiency of 8%. This makes that useless for more than pre-filtering air or screening out the largest of airborne particulates. Within the industry, they are known as the “bugs and birds” filter. In fact, with their specific composition and spacing, they are not even technically classifiable as filters, but rather particle impingement devices.
With impingement, dirt and dust can only be caught if they directly strike or attach to a fiberglass fiber. A common demonstration that you can do in your own home is pour a packet of sugar over a fiberglass filter. The sugar will pass right through it.
Fiberglass filter Max Limit
Once dirt is captured at the front side of your fiberglass filter, the filter will eventually reach its maximum limit. At this point, additional particulate will then dislodge the already filtered dirt and carry it through the filter. In extreme cases, the filters themselves have actually collapsed and then the fiberglass particles are disbursed through the furnace or air conditioner and spread throughout the entire house.
Don’t Touch that filter
Disposable fiberglass filters are notorious for dumping a ton of dirt and dust as soon as you touch it. If the filter is disturbed in any way, dirt will fly off of it (you have probably noticed this when replacing your filter). Just think about how much dirt you are putting back into the air every time you change your filters.
Mold and Bacteria in fiberglass air conditioning filters
Recently, concerns have been raised because the adhesive that is used to bond the fiberglass to the frame of filter. The adhesive has been proven to be a very good place for mold and bacteria to attach and grow. This means that your filter is actually creating some of the most dangerous airborne particulate in the house.
Pleated Furnace Filters
Increased Filtration Efficiency
While fiberglass filters have proven to be at best 8% effective at filtration, pleated filters have an average efficiency of 25%-30%. Some have even been shown to have 45%-50%.
Increased Air Flow
With increased efficiency comes increased air flow. Initially, this created a unique problem that lead to their current efficiency. To make the filters more sturdy, they use V shape pleating that increases the total square footage of the filter within the same frame size. This means that it is much more durable than a fiberglass filter and can filter out much smaller and much more particulate.
Benefits of pleated air conditioner filters
The increased filtration leads to a serious of cause and effect benefits including:
Increased filtration efficiency leads to…
1. Increased Energy Efficiency because cleaner coils lead to more efficient heat transfer.
2. Decreased Housekeeping Costs – The house is cleaner, thus is cleaned less often.
3. Better Air Quality because it can filter out more pollutants as well as much smaller pollutants.
4. Less Maintenance because the HVAC system is kept much cleaner and consistently operates at maximum efficiency thus minimizing break downs.
5. Cost Savings – Electrical bills are decreased, plus you spend less on the filters themselves because they need replaced much less often.
There are many more advantages than this to choosing pleated A/C filters over their disposable fiberglass counterparts as well. It only takes a moment to realize which is the best choice.