Can You Put A Hepa Filter In A Window Air Conditioner? [Should You?]

You might have heard about HEPA filters and wondering if you could install one in your window air conditioner. We have researched whether or not it's possible and here's what we found.

HEPA filters should not be used on window air conditioners because they severely restrict airflow. Your window air conditioner is already equipped with an air filter that is designed to remove dust and dirt particles, but not in the same way as HEPA filters do.

It does make sense why some of us would think of replacing our regular air conditioner filters with HEPA filters simply because the latter does a better job of trapping allergens and pollutants. We'll explain why HEPA filters are bad for your window air conditioner and what you can you do to ensure high-quality, clean air using regular air conditioner air filters so read on!

What Is The Difference Between A Regular Air Filter And A HEPA Filter?

A regular air filter is typically designed to remove dust and dirt particles from the air by using a mesh-like structure that traps them. An air conditioner air filter can only filter dust and pollen. This is to ensure the airflow inside your home remains unhampered. 

In contrast, a HEPA filter uses a different method of removing particles from the air. Not only does it trap dust particles, but it also works by trapping microscopic particles in a web of pleats. These pleats are so fine that the filter can trap microscopic particles down to 0.3 microns in size.

The benefits of using a HEPA filter are obvious. If you live with asthma or other respiratory ailments, it can be hard to breathe through your nose because of all the allergens floating around.

By installing an air purifier with a HEPA filter in your home, you’re removing those allergens before they get into your lungs.

Why Can’t You Use HEPA Filters On A Window Air Conditioner?

AN LG window air conditioner install in the room, Where Is The Fuse In A Window Air Conditioner?

If you use a HEPA filter on your window air conditioner system, it will drastically reduce airflow. You'll notice that the air conditioner's ability to circulate air is compromised. This is because of how fine and close-knit the mesh that makes up the filter is woven together.

Without proper airflow, you'll experience higher power consumption and the compressor will work harder, which is bad for your AC unit's longevity. Since airflow is obstructed, cold air will start to condense on the coils and will eventually freeze them.

A frozen evaporator coil will have decreased efficiency and won't be able to effectively cool your home as much as it should. 

If you've noticed your air conditioning unit running a little bit louder and/or less efficiently than usual, then it's likely because it's restricting airflow. It might be time to clean it.

So if you want to use a HEPA filter for filtering allergens, you'll need to purchase an air purifier that is equipped with one.

What To Do To Ensure High-Quality Clean Air In Your Home?

HEPA filter for air purifier

If you live in a region that experiences a large amount of dust, it's important to keep your air cleaned regularly. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that they should be cleaned at least once a month.

A dirty air filter will cause your air conditioning unit to work harder, which will ultimately reduce its efficiency and lifespan. If you want your air conditioner to last as long as possible, it's a good idea to keep it clean and well-maintained.

You can also buy a separate air purifier if you want your home to have a HEPA filter filtering the air that is circulated throughout the house. 

Check out this air purifier on Amazon.

How To Clean A Window AC Air Filter?

How To Clean A Window AC Air Filter

1. Remove the air filter. The air filter of a window air conditioner is usually behind the front panel. Depending on how your window air conditioner is designed, you can either pop the front panel open and remove the air filter or simply grab it and pull it out.

2. Spray some cleaning solution on the air filter. You can use white vinegar and a mild soap solution but if you don't want the smell of vinegar, the first option is your best bet.

3. Let it sit for a while and let the cleaning solution penetrate and dissolve all the dirt and dust particles.

4. Wash the air filter with clean water. A high-pressured garden hose is ideal to force the dirt out of the filter.

5. Wipe the air filter dry and put it back in the AC unit.

Check out this window air conditioner air filter replacement on Amazon.

The video below shows how easy it is to clean your air conditioner's air filter.

How Do You Know If The Air Filter Needs Cleaning?

Most people wait until they feel something is wrong with their air conditioner before taking action. Waiting for a sign that your air filter is dirty or needs cleaning is a common mistake many homeowners make.

This is because air filters are designed to be cleaned (at least), if not changed, regularly. They are the very first line of defense against dust and pollen in your home.

Failure to clean or replace your air filter is a recipe not only for health problems but for the lifespan of your air conditioning system as well.

So what can you do to find out when it is time to clean your air filter? The easiest way to know when you should replace or clean your air filter is to check if it's already spewing dust out.

You can hang any white sheet material, preferably fibrous, like a cloth or a tissue, a few inches away from the vents for an hour. You'll know if the filter is dirty if you see a lot of dust on the sheet.

What Is The Best Air Filter To Use Without Compromising Airflow?

Hand holding the dirty air conditioner home window filter

Before this question can be answered, it's important to know first how air filters are rated.

A MERV rating is the standard measurement for the amount of airborne particles that the air filter removes. The higher the number, the more it reduces the concentration of airborne particles. A lower MERV means more of the airborne particles remain in the air.

A regular window air conditioner air filter ranges between MERV 1 to 4, so getting a MERV 5-rated air filter should up your game a level higher. It's important to understand the differences between air filters in order to pick the one that works best for your home and your needs.

What Will Happen To Your Window AC If It Runs Without An Air Filter?

There are a number of things that can happen to your air conditioner if you run it without an air filter installed. Firstly, if you have the air filter removed, the compressor will be exposed to more dust and debris than it is used to. Over time, this can cause problems in the compressor.

Accumulated dust will eventually clog up the entire system, and the coils and blower motor may also begin to show signs of premature wear and tear. The airflow through the system could be reduced to a point where your system won’t be able to keep up with the heat. 

So it’s important to install an air filter as soon as possible. 

Signs Of A Failing Window AC Compressor

A common sign that your air conditioner compressor is failing is an increase in the amount of noise it makes. This is something you can easily observe yourself especially when you're sleeping.

You may also notice that it's struggling to provide the same cooling output as before and has increased power requirements. Once you notice a loud clicking or grinding sound coming from your air conditioner, it's important to get it checked as soon as possible. 

Air Conditioner Running But Not Cooling - What's Going On?

Your AC unit should be able to start blowing cool air out of vents within a minute after turning it on. If your air conditioner is running but isn't providing the desired level of comfort, there are a few things you can check out to make sure it's working properly.

1. Check Condenser Coils

Professional electrician is cleaning the window air conditioner on the roof top of a house

A clogged condenser coil is one major cause of why your AC unit will run but won't cool the temperature down. Do a visual inspection to make sure there are no problems with your condenser coils.

Condenser coils are found at the back of your unit. Look for any signs of blockage and carefully clean it with a soft-bristled brush. After brushing the coils to soften the buildup, blow air through them. 

2. Low Refrigerant Level

Check for refrigerant leaks. Your air conditioner is likely to work harder to provide cool air if it has no refrigerant. This is because it needs to compress the refrigerant to produce cold air. When it's working hard, it consumes a lot of power, which can lead to high electricity bills.

A compressor is the part of your air conditioner that produces cold air. An air conditioning system with sufficient refrigerant means less work and stress to cool the air down.

Air conditioner compressor

If your unit runs short on refrigerant, it will have to work a little harder to provide cold air. This explains why your air conditioner is running yet not able to provide a cold temperature. 

You should periodically check your AC system's refrigerant level and top off the tank if needed for optimum efficiency.

Check out this refrigerant recharging and diagnostic kit on Amazon.

Here's a 2-minute video showing how to recharge the refrigerant for your window AC unit:

In Closing

It's important to understand the differences between a HEPA filter and the air filter before you install one. The air filter that you currently have is adequate for filtering the air to protect you and your air conditioning system. Installing a HEPA filter on it will only compromise your air conditioning system's performance. If you want to get the benefits of a HEPA filter, you should look into purchasing an air purifier.

You might also like:

Air Filter Keeps Bending; Why And What To Do?

Does Air Filter Brand Matter?

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *