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13 Best AC Filters For Cleaner Air In Your Home

13 Best AC Filters for Cleaner Air in your Home! These Air Conditioning Filters remove dust, pet hair, bacteria, allergens, smoke, & viruses.

Best Home AC Filters 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.

Here’s a look at my dirty AC filter. You can see all of the dust, dirt, and pet hair clogging this filter. The air wasn’t really able to get through this filter because it was so clogged up. But you can see just how incredible an air filter is at cleaning particles from the air in your home.

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 Air Conditioner 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.

13 Best AC Filters For Home Use

Best AC Filters For Smoke, Pet Hair, Bacteria, Viruses, and More

OK, now that you know the ins and outs about AC Filters and why the MERV rating is important, here's The Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in a Home!

These Air Filters remove dust, pet dander, bacteria, allergens, smoke, & viruses.

It is SO IMPORTANT that you buy a replacement air filter that is the correct size for your HVAC system.

The air filter needs to fit your return air vent correctly to properly clean the particles before they can enter your ducts and air conditioner.

Best 1" Thick AC Filters for Home Use

Here's some air filters great at removing pet hair, bacteria, viruses, smoke, and more from the air in your home.

Best 4 & 5 Inch Air Filters for Cleaner Air At Home

Need a bigger HVAC filter? Here's some great options.

Best HEPA 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.

Keep reading this post for answers to common questions about HVAC filters AND everything you need to know about picking an air filter.

What is a MERV Rating on Air 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.

RECOMMENDED: How Do I Know If My AC Filter Is Dirty? 6 Signs To Look For for more tips.

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.

The Best AC Filter Replacement for Cleaner Air in a Home! These Air Filters remove dust, pet dander, bacteria, allergens, smoke, & viruses.
See this AC Filter, it’s not on my list of recommended AC filters. It’s probably only a MERV 7 or 8. I was given a pack of this AC Filter, so I’m using them up because I hate waste. But, I’ll be switching back to a MERV 12 or MERV 13 as soon as I can!

How Often Should I Change My HVAC Filter

Most disposable Air 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.

YIKES! Here's How to Fix a Loud AC Return Vent - AKA The Noisy Air Vent!

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.

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:

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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.