Fancy Air Conditioning Filters – Are There Real Benefits?

Air conditioning is an indispensable technique in most regions. In the design of this device there is such an element as a filter. However, more and more models with additional levels of filtration began to appear on the market, which protect not only the design of the device, but also your health. What are they and whether they make sense – let’s figure it out.

What is a filter in an air conditioner and why is it needed?
Basic in the design of any air conditioner is a coarse filter. This is a small frame with a mesh, which serves mainly to trap large particles – pet hair, fluff, and so on. This is necessary to prevent contaminants from entering the internal structural elements, which can lead to deterioration in performance and even breakdown.

This mesh catches up to 95% of large particles. You can clean the filter yourself — you need to do this on average once every 2-3 months, depending on the intensity of the use of equipment.

However, air conditioner manufacturers offer more effective protection – filters with additional degrees of purification , which are installed along with a standard mesh. Additional levels of filtration will be relevant if your city, for example, has very high air pollution. Also, such filters are useful for private houses, when various bacteria, pollen and allergens get into the premises from the street. At least in theory.

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Fine filter
Several manufacturers of HVAC equipment, for example, HISENSE, Dantex and Balu offer the installation of HEPA filters in air conditioning systems. Such models are already capable of stopping particles smaller than two microns. The filter is made in the form of an accordion of tightly folded fibers, which are “packed” in a plastic or metal frame. Depending on the grade, HEPA is capable of capturing from 95% to 99.99995% of particles. Filters are disposable and cannot be cleaned, but replacement is performed on average once every 1-2 years.

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Such a filter is useful in places with high ambient air pollution, but only if it completely blocks the air intake of the device. The main problem is that in split systems, the HEPA filter usually takes up only a small area on the mesh, which is why its entire effectiveness is reduced to almost zero.


There is no point in chasing a HEPA filter in a home split system, but for climate systems and ceiling air conditioners, this type of cleaning will be preferable.

Charcoal filter
It is a plate in the honeycomb of which activated carbon, known for its adsorbing properties, is placed. Such a filter can remove unpleasant odors from, for example, pets. Service life – up to 6 months, after which the filter must be replaced. Most often it looks like a small strip that is mounted on top of a standard coarse filter. In the best case, such a strip will cover only half of the entire suction opening.


Despite the fact that not all the air passes through the carbon filter, it can really cope with some faint odors. However, do not expect to remove harsh aromas, especially if the source of their occurrence is not eliminated.

Catechin filter
Catechin is an organic compound found in tea. By its nature, it is an effective antiseptic, which is why many manufacturers use it to make filters for air conditioners and more. By analogy with the previous one, it is made in the form of a small strip – a paper base plus a catechin coating. Effective against viruses and some bacteria, and also cleans the air from tobacco smoke. Service life is 4-6 months.


If an antibacterial filter is declared in the characteristics, then, most likely, we are talking about the Kakhetian model. Due to its small size, the effectiveness of this filter is questionable, especially if it occupies no more than 1/4 of the entire area.

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However, when paired with another filter, for example, a carbon filter, the cleaning effect will be more significant, especially if the total coverage area is at least half of the entire mesh.


Photocatalytic filter
Like most other models, it is made in the form of a small strip. The filter copes well with unpleasant odors, vapors of formaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia with an efficiency of up to 90%. A key feature of such models is the ability to restore their properties under the influence of sunlight. Thanks to this, the service life reaches 3-5 years. An antioxidant filter can also be included in this category.


In air conditioners, such a filter will be relevant only with a sufficiently high concentration of the above-described compounds, as well as in rooms where people smoke regularly. In other cases, the absence of this element will be uncritical. If you have a choice between kakhetian and photocatalytic, then preference can be given to the latter, given its service life and regenerating properties.

Silver ion filter
By analogy with other models, it is most often made in the form of a small plate attached to the main filter. This model kills up to 99% of bacteria and is able to suppress the growth of mold. Service life up to six months. Given the small area of ​​such a strip, the disinfection effect will be negligible, so in most cases this is nothing more than a marketing ploy.


Plasma filter
The system is a small container, inside of which a low-temperature plasma is created between the plates under the action of high voltage. This allows you to deactivate airborne microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, various spores. The particles receive a negative charge and settle on one of the plates.


Plasma filtration is considered one of the most efficient, but requires a power source. Accordingly, these air conditioners usually consume more electricity. If such a unit is not connected to the power supply, then this is the most common filter of one of the above categories.

UV filter
It is quite rare in split systems. A full-fledged UV lamp is built into the air conditioner, which disinfects the air passing through the structure. Such models of air conditioners will cost more, not to mention more energy consumption. In addition, the lamp is usually not located along the entire length of the suction opening, so the quality of disinfection is estimated at 70-85%. Split systems with UV cleaning can be found from Haier, General Climat and Electrolux.


So is there any point in additional filters?
The main task of the air conditioner is to cool the air, and its purification is already a secondary function. The materials from which the above filters are made are really capable of coping with pollution, removing odors and decontaminating the air. However, the area of ​​such filters is usually too small for the user to feel the effect.

Air currents most often follow the path of less resistance and bypass such filter strips. For the most part, this is a marketing ploy to make your air conditioner model more attractive compared to competitors. Plasma and UV filters can be called an exception, since they belong to the category of active elements, however, their effectiveness remains questionable.