Is A High Efficiency Air Filter Worth The Cost?

Anyone who’s lived in Florida for longer than a day knows that air conditioning is a must, especially during the summer. As residents of a warmer climate, it seems we are always searching for that perfect dollar amount to efficiency ratio to keep the AC systems functioning at optimal levels without straining the budget.

Maintenance is necessary for all equipment, and professionals recommend having your AC units checked annually. In the meantime, one way to extend the life and quality of your unit is to invest in high-efficiency air filters.

Function of an Air Filter:

In order to understand why the quality of an air filter would make a difference, it might help to know what its role is in the process of cooling your home. An air filter, of course, filters the air as it is drawn into the AC unit to be cooled and re-circulated. It traps dirt and dust particles before they get to other parts of the machine; parts that can get hot while operational.

In short, a basic air filter will keep the dust from igniting and catching other parts of the unit on fire.

So, a basic air filter does the job. However, in the long run, it becomes more cost effective to make the switch to a high-efficiency air filter. Although the basic filter keeps your house from AC unit fire, it does not come close to stopping dirt and dust from getting to the inside of the AC unit.


It is important to stop dirt and dust from getting into the unit, because every particle that does compromises efficiency. This translates into a higher monthly electric bill. With energy costs on the rise, every little bit helps. The consumer now has a choice to make. Air filters need to be changed or cleaned every 30 to 90 days, depending on the model.

High-efficiency air filters do cost more, but will lower monthly electric bills as well as cut annual AC repair costs by allowing the system to run at higher optimum levels. The average homeowner in Florida spends about $800 to $1,000 annually on AC repairs.

The system was introduced in 1987 to rate efficiency levels of air filters. Called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), it uses a scale of 1 to 16 to determine air filter efficiency, 16 being the most efficient. Clean, moving parts are essential for AC unit performance, and a high-efficiency air filter traps even microscopic pollen and dust particles, as small as 10 microns.

A human hair measures 100 microns in diameter. However, professionals do recommend researching before purchasing. With so many different air filter models and AC unit makes, it is important to buy one that fits your system.

It is sort of like computer software. Some of the more modern software programs just aren’t compatible with older computers. The newer software surpassed the older equipment. When this happens, it may be worth considering upgrading the entire AC system. It is quite an undertaking, but think about it like this: you are going to be spending more money over time with a less efficient system.

Consumers reported up to a 50 percent decrease in monthly energy costs when they invested in high-efficiency air filters and AC units. Those are savings you can take all the way to the bank!

High-efficiency air filters can also be instrumental in improving air quality inside the house in addition to extending the life of the AC unit itself. Breathe easier with a high-efficiency air filter. It traps, to name a few, pet dander, hairspray, household cleaners, mold spores and other allergens.

Homeowners who have pets, allergies or have children with allergies could cut healthcare costs simply by improving the quality of the air. Furthermore, if you need any help with the installation of your filter you can simply call a professional such as those over at Bob Heinmiller A/C.


The writer, Rebecca Short, is something of a home improvement specialist in her home, doing what she can to maintain everything that makes it a comfortable place to live. If you wish to learn more about Rebecca you can visit on Google+.