Which air conditioner filter is best for my home?

28 June 2012
Selecting the proper air filter is key to cleaning the air that circulates in your home. For most homes, Rosie recommends a $4 to $5 pleated air filter, which should be replaced every month.

From worst to best:


Standard air filter. Made from spun fiberglass and mounted in a cardboard frame, the standard air filter costs less than $1 and is the most popular. Yet it’s the most inefficient, as it captures just 10 percent of the pollutants in your home’s air. Change them once a month.

Reusable filters. Washable plastic-framed electrostatic filters and “monofilament” cloth filters trap up to 90 percent of the tiniest bits of dust and dander. An electrostatic filter electronically charges the dirt, dust, lint and pet dander in your air so they stick to it. Instead of replacing it once a month, though, you’ll have to clean it every week. If you don’t have the discipline to do that, do not purchase this filter, which costs from $30 to around $100. These durable filters are so thick that they don’t allow the air to flow through them freely, especially if you don’t clean them every week. That makes your air conditioner work harder, and can shorten its life.

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