13 Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in your Home! These Air Filters remove dust, pet dander, bacteria, allergens, smoke, & viruses.
Best Home AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air
Last week, I realized it was way past time to replace our AC Filter when it was suddenly louder than normal.
That dirty air filter was blocking the air flow, so my normally quiet AC vent was as loud as those overhead airplane vents.
I could even hear that loud noise in the next room.
So, I quickly grabbed a clean AC Filter out of the closet to replace the dirty old filter. It instantly silenced that loud noise coming from that AC Return Air Vent.
There are many reasons to keep those AC Filters clean. Your AC Filter protects your HVAC system from damage from dust and particles in the air, preventing costly repairs or expensive energy bills.
You can find everything you really need to know about why dirty air filters can be bad in my post What Happens If Your AC Filter Is Dirty.
Your AC Filter also plays an important part in cleaning the air inside your home.
A quality AC Filter with a high MERV rating can remove microscopic particles from the air in your home. That includes smoke, odors, debris, allergens, bacteria, and viruses.
Some air filters are better than others, guys.
Some links on this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
This post covers the Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in a Home AND everything you need to know about picking an air filter.
Table of contents
- What is a MERV Rating on AC Filters
- Are Washable Air Filters GOOD or BAD
- How Often Should I Change My AC Filter
- Do I Need to Turn My AC Off to Replace the Filter
- What is a HEPA Air Purifier
- 13 Highest Rated Air Filters on Amazon
What is a MERV Rating on AC Filters
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, aka MERV rating, is a scale that measures the effectiveness of air filters in HVAC systems.
This scale includes how well that filter can provide cleaner air in your home.
This MERV Rating scale was created by ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers.
ASHRAE has extensively tested AC Filters to set each filters MERV rating. AND, they have also defined what each level on the MERV rating scale is able to filter out.
In general, most HVAC systems can only handle medium-efficiency air filter MERV ratings between MERV 7 and MERV 13.
Most AC’s can only safely pull enough air to run properly through MERV 7-13 air filters.
If you want to use air filters with a MERV rating of 14 to 16, you’ll need to work with an HVAC tech to see if it’s possible to adjust your system to work with that higher filter rating.
I recommend using an AC filter with a MERV 12 or 13 rating whenever possible. It’s generally the Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in a Home.
That higher MERV rating air filter will pull the most amount of dust, debris, particles, dander, smoke, bacteria, and particles from your indoor air, as possible.
Are Washable Air Filters GOOD or BAD
There are a few important good and bad points about using a washable air filter.
What is BAD about a washable AC Filter
Most washable air filters have a low MERV rating of 4 to 6. So, for that reason, a washable air filter is not as good at cleaning the air in your home.
There is a washable air filter, made by Filti, with a 13 MERV rating. So, that MERV 13 washable filter could pull as much out of the air as a MERV 13 disposable air filter.
I have never tested that washable Filti air filter. There are some ratings comments that say that the filter almost broke the users AC because of reduced air flow.
Honestly, that makes me too nervous to try it. Air conditioners are too expensive to risk it, in my opinion.
Washable air filters have to be washed and must thoroughly dry before you can use them again.
If you don’t let that washable air filter dry before using it, the moisture can build up inside your duct work or AC causing mold or even serious damage.
You cannot run your AC without an air filter. Your AC can be damaged by particles without a filter.
For that reason, I recommend having 2 washable air filters in use. Then you can alternate between them, instead of keeping your AC off for hours and hours while waiting for the washable filter to dry.
What is GOOD about a washable AC Filter
BUT, washable air filters can save you money and reduce waste in landfills.
A washable air filter can save you money by just lasting longer than their disposable counterparts. So, you spend less every year on AC filters.
And, of course, that means that you throw away less air filters over time. A washable air filter can last for 2 years or more, depending on how often you have to wash it.
How Often Should I Change My AC Filter
Most disposable AC filters need to be changed every 90 days. Every AC filter will have a recommended replacement time on the packaging.
Be sure to follow the manufacturers guidelines about replacement to avoid dirty air, increased electricity usage, and possible damage to your AC.
And, be aware that you might need to replace your air filter more often if it gets too dirty before that recommended timeframe is up.
Let’s go over some possible reasons that your AC filter might need replacement more frequently.
Reasons Your AC Filter Needs To Be Replaced Frequently
- If you have furry pets that shed a lot, your filter will fill up with pet hair faster than you might expect.
- If you live in an area with high air pollution or smoke, your air filter probably gets dirtier, faster than normal.
- A lot of people living in a smaller than normal space can collect debris in your air filter faster than normal.
- If you have a lot of old carpeting, it can be releasing more fibers, dust, and years of allergens more often.
- Any construction work in your home can cause increased dust in your air filter too. I’m always working on DIY remodeling projects that produce more dust than normal.
If your air vents seem to be blowing out dust, change your filter! Or, if your AC return air vent is making a louder than normal sucking air sound, change your filter.
Watch this video to hear what happened when my AC filter was dirty.
For more detailed info about What Happens If Your AC Filter is Dirty, check out my previous post. It’s full of important details about how a dirty AC filter can cost you so much money on repair bills.
Do I Need to Turn My AC Off to Replace the Filter
You should make sure your AC isn’t running when you change your AC Filter. If you watch that video above, you’ll notice that I left my AC running.
That was really only so people could hear the huge noise that the dirty filter caused. I made sure to quickly put a new filter in before too much debris could be sucked into my HVAC system.
But, even a small amount of time is risky.
So, either switch the AC off at the thermostat OR switch the temperature up so high that the AC won’t kick on while you replace your AC filter.
What is a HEPA Air Purifier
A HEPA Air Purifier can be added to rooms that need additional air cleaning. They generally plug into normal outlets. Most are small enough to sit on table tops or furniture.
A HEPA Air Purifier uses a HEPA rated filter to pull even more particles out of the air in that room.
According to the EPA, a HEPA filter is a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter.
People with bad allergies, anyone living with air pollution or smoke from fires, or worried about bacteria and viruses in the air might want to add a HEPA air filter to help clean the air in their home, office, school, or business.
HEPA Air Purifiers can also help to remove cooking odors or dust from construction.
I added a few of the highest rated HEPA Air Purifiers to the list below, just in case you need more help cleaning the air in your home than even the Best AC Filter Replacement can provide.
13 Highest Rated Air Filters on Amazon
Best 1" Thick AC Filters for Cleaner Air
Best 4 & 5 Inch Air Filters for Cleaner Air
Best Air Purifiers
If you live in an area with high air pollution OR you need an air filter that can help pull even more debris, bacteria, and viruses out of the air, try one of these top-rated air purifiers.
That’s it for this list of the Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in a Home, guys. I hope that helped you find the best Air Filter for your home.
For more of my Best of Lists, check out:
- 30 Best Outdoor Mats for Any Home
- Best Amazon Coffee Tables for any Living Room
- Best Scary Halloween Decorations For Your Home
- 17 Best Area Rugs on a Budget for your Floor
- 23 Unique Drawer Pulls, Knobs, & Hardware on Amazon
- Best Fabric by the Yard Online on Amazon
- Best Milk Glass & Schoolhouse Lights for your Home
Check out this popular post on How to Restain a Door without Removing It too.
Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve seen my picks for the Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in a Home, I hope that helped you find the best air filter for your home.
Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.