Are Furnace Filters and AC Filters the Same?

are furnace filter and ac filters the same

You’ve probably heard the terms furnace filter and air conditioner (AC) filter before. But are they really two different filters for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your Round Rock home, or are they referring to the same filter? The answer—they are the same!

The heating and cooling system in your Texas home has one filter. You may describe the filter based on the current season, calling it a furnace filter in the winter and an air conditioner filter in the summer. 

For all furnace and air conditioning questions, feel free to contact our AiRCO Heating & Air Conditioning professionals. We would be happy to go over the details about your HVAC system and provide recommendations on how to properly care for your system—like routinely changing the filter—so it will remain in great condition.

Furnace and Air ConditionerFilters

Whether you call it a furnace filter or an air conditionerfilter, it’s important to make a habit out of replacing it, or cleaning it if it’s a reusable version. Replacing or cleaning your filter will allow your heating and cooling system to operate as efficiently as possible.

How Often Do I Need to Replace My Filter?

You should replace, or clean, your filter every one to three months. If you don’t, you will end up restricting airflow and negatively impacting your furnace in the winter and air conditioner in the summer.

You can also negatively affect your indoor air quality (IAQ) by not routinely changing or cleaning your air filter. Keeping it in optimum condition helps prevent dust and particles from circulating throughout your Texas home and reaching your lungs.

How Do I Change the Filter?

To replace or clean your filter, you must first turn your HVAC system off. Then slide out the filter carefully.

Before replacing the filter with a new, disposable version, be sure you have the correct size. If this is your first time changing the filter, you can confirm the correct size by looking in the manufacturer’s manual or check to see if the size is labeled on the current filter you just took out.

Be sure the filter has the appropriate MERV (minimum efficiency report value) rating for your HVAC system. The MERV rating measures how well the filter can trap airborne particles. 

The higher the MERV rating, the more capable the filter is of catching pollutants—some of which can carry viruses. However, this does not mean you should always choose the filter with the highest MERV rating because filters with higher MERV ratings can disrupt airflow on certain HVAC systems.

If you have a washable filter, you can clean it by first vacuuming or dusting off the particles. Then go ahead and wash it by hand under running water. When it’s dry, slide the filter back in. 

Types of Filters

Here are some of the different types of filters available:

  • Fiberglass filters: This is one of the least expensive disposable filters. Made of fiberglass, these filters can easily trap dust while promoting ideal airflow in your Round Rock home. However, fiberglass filters are not the best at filtering out smaller particles, like pollen or bacteria.
  • Pleated filters: Designed to trap more debris, pleated filters are capable of catching even the tiniest of particles. Though these filters cost a bit more than fiberglass, they are one of the more preferable options for household members with allergies or asthma.

    The Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA) states over 25 million Americans suffer from asthma—and about 60 percent of the people specifically struggle with allergic asthma, which is the most common type. This makes it even more important to know which filter will work, not only for your HVAC system but also for your specific needs.
  • High-efficiency particulate filters: Commonly referred to as filters, these filters are great for household members with allergies or respiratory conditions. The HEPA filter’s unique design successfully gets rid of dust, dander, bacteria, and other types of pollutants in the air.
  • Electrostatic filters: Also known as washable or reusable filters, electrostatic filters are an environmentally friendly option. These filters cost more initially, but they will save you money in the long run since you won’t have to buy a new one every month or so. Dust, dirt, and other types of allergens are trapped in the filter, but its effectiveness depends on routine cleanings.

Importance of Annual Maintenance

In addition to replacing or cleaning your air filter on a routine basis, it’s essential to have maintenance on your HVAC system at least once a year as a minimum. This will ensure your system is in great working condition and help prevent any existing issues from progressing to a more complex and expensive repair.

If you have any questions about your heating and cooling system, give our AiRCO Heating & Air Conditioning experts a call. Our team of highly skilled and trained professionals want to help you understand and properly maintain your system, so do not hesitate to reach out today!

Our Heating and Cooling Professionals Are Here for You

At AiRCO Heating & Air Conditioning, we believe in providing the service you deserve, so whatever your heating and cooling needs are here in Round Rock, TX, we are here to provide assistance, from installation to repairs and maintenance. Give our team a call today at 512.537.1234 or request service online.

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