Are Pleated Filters Bad for Your AC?

Pleated filters are not ideal for your air conditioning (AC) system because they block too much air, making the HVAC engine work harder to extract the air it needs and burn it faster. This can lead to reduced air flow and decreased efficiency. The pleated air filter can also cause liquid to re-enter the compressor, leading to premature equipment failure. To achieve a balance between all of these factors, it is important to select an air filter for your AC system carefully.

One-inch pleated filters should be changed at least every three months, and four-inch or more pleated filters should be changed approximately every six months. Pleated versus non-pleated air filters tend to greatly restrict air flow due to the density of the material with which they are made. Air filters with a thick media filter can trap small particles, such as pet dander and mold, without impeding air flow like a thin, pleated air filter would. Pleated air filters are great for trapping dust and particles, but they are not enough when it comes to filtering the smallest pollutants from the air, such as pollen, pet dander, and bacteria.

The stiffness of pleated air filters is beneficial because you don't want the air filter to bend or bend while the boiler or AC is operating. The most common system for measuring the filtration capacity of an air filter is known as a MERV, or minimum efficiency report value. Low MERV filters (think MERV 1) filter relatively few particles compared to high MERV filters (think 11-1). Fibreglass filters, when changed regularly, allow greater airflow because they have less surface area than pleated filters and allow smaller particles to pass through.