How to Choose the Perfect AC Filter

July 15, 2021 5:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

During the summer here in Kansas, where average temperatures can climb above 90℉, having air conditioning is essential. But having cool air isn’t enough—you want clean air as well. That’s where air conditioning filters come in.

There’s more to your HVAC system than simply heating and cooling, and air filters are a great way to catch any dust, debris or other contaminants that might otherwise be circulated by your air conditioner. While you could call an air conditioning service to help you find the right AC filter for your home, you could also do it yourself. Here’s how to find the best AC filter for your needs.


A key component of finding the right AC filter for your home is knowing which size to get. There are several ways you can determine the correct size. The easiest way is to check the filter already installed in your unit to verify its dimensions, as they’re typically printed directly on it. If that filter doesn’t have the dimensions labeled, you should measure its height, length and depth, rounding up to the nearest whole number if you get a fractional measurement. To be safe, you could also measure the grill in the same fashion, just to ensure your measurements were accurate.

MERV rating

The acronym MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.” This is a scale that goes from 1 to 16 and indicates how well a filter removes contaminants under the least efficient working conditions. Air filters made of various materials have different ratings, and we’ll cover those below, but ideally, your filter should have an air filter rating of 7 to 13. A higher MERV rating doesn’t always mean it’s better, as a filter with a high MERV rating will filter all the air flowing through your HVAC system, restricting its flow, and causing the system to work harder.

Filter material

These are grouped by MERV rating, with various materials having MERV ratings considered low, average, above average and high. The low-rated materials are passive filters, washable synthetic filters, disposable panel filters and fiberglass filters. The average MERV-rated materials are cube filters, media panel filters and pleated filters. The above-average MERV-rated material is the extended pleated filter, and the highest MERV-rated material is an electronic filter.

Cost effectiveness

As you might expect, some of the highest MERV-rated materials are the most expensive, but like we covered earlier, a higher MERV rating doesn’t always mean it would be better for your home. Ideally you could consult an HVAC technician to recommend a MERV rating for your specific system, but most homeowners usually settle on a number around 6 to 8 and its corresponding material. You don’t necessarily need to spend top dollar to benefit from sufficient air filtration.

Call for AC service today

Now that you know how to pick the correct AC filter for your home, give KVK Inc. a call today. We’re the experts when it comes to heating and cooling your home, and our technicians would love nothing more than to ensure you and your family keep cool and breathe clean air this summer.

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