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What is Air Filter Pressure Drop?

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There are many different things you should consider when you’re deciding what type of air filter to install with your air conditioner. The right filter will do a great job at cleaning your home’s air while also minimizing how much it “gets in the way” of your air conditioner doing its job. Today we’re going to talk about air filter pressure drop and why it’s so important to consider it when choosing the right filter for your home!

MERV Ratings and Air Filters

Air filters are inserted directly into your air conditioner’s airflow path in order to trap the particles that flow through the filter. The more dense and tightly-knit an air filter’s material is, the more particles it will be able to trap. However, this comes at a cost.

One tradeoff that you have to make when you increase the density (and often the MERV rating) of a filter is that the filter will slow down your system’s airflow rate. This is known as an air filter’s pressure drop, and a high pressure drop means that your air handler has to work harder and consume more energy in order to maintain proper airflow.

Air filter pressure drop increases as the filter gets dirty

Another thing you need to consider about air filters is that the pressure drop that they create only increases as the air filter gets dirty. As dirt builds up on the filter, there is less and less space for air to flow through the filter. That’s a big reason that we remind our customers about the importance of checking, changing or cleaning their filters every month.

How much pressure drop is acceptable for your air conditioner?

Not all air filters are created equal. In fact, even two air filters with the same MERV rating can cause different amounts of pressure drop. Certain filters, such as pleated filters, are able to have higher MERV ratings while still allowing for relatively good airflow. In addition, many whole house air cleaners are able to maintain excellent airflow rates while still outperforming almost any type of standard filter on the market.

The pressure drop that is acceptable for your air conditioner depends entirely on what type of system you have installed. Your air conditioner is designed to handle a certain amount of air filter pressure drop, and you can refer to your manufacturer’s guide or contact Hydes if you’re curious about the type of filter that’s right for your system.

If you have any questions about the pressure drop of an air filter, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Hydes, your Coachella Valley air conditioning contractor.

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