Allergy & Air on March 24, 2015 2 Comments You’ve spent the time researching the portable A/C unit that is right for you, but you’re not done yet. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting to pick the right filter for your unit. Having the right type of filter might seem like one of the more minor details of owning a portable air conditioner, but picking the right filter for you not only plays a role in improving your indoor air quality, it may also have a positive effect on your health by keeping certain airborne toxins from triggering your asthma and allergies. We all know of the toxins present in the air outside, but it is the air inside of our homes that plays a major role in triggering various illness and unease in our lives. Owning a portable air conditioner is not only a great way to stay cool and comfortable inside of your home, the filters inside the unit will help your family breathier easier. Here are five of the most common filters you’ll find in a portable air conditioning unit. 1. Pre-Filters No matter what kind of portable air conditioner unit you choose, it will come with a pre-filter, such as our Austin Air Small Replacement Pre-Filter. These are general filters that do the basic job of getting rid of pet hair, dust and larger microbes, but they aren’t very effective when it comes to helping you with your allergies or asthma. Keeping your pre-filter clean will definitely help your portable A/C unit operate at maximum efficiency, but to truly improve your indoor air quality and eliminate odors, you’ll need additional filters, or even an air purifier running simultaneously. 2. Silver Ion Filters These filters are well known for their ability to scrub spores, viruses, common allergens, and harmful bacteria from the air inside of your home. Silver ion filters are relatively new and commonly found in touch screens, phones and textiles since they are useful for breaking down harmful organisms. If you have pets or suffer from springtime allergies, a silver ion filter can be extremely beneficial due to how easily they are able to deal with pet dander, pollen and dust. Silver ion filters work by dispensing positive bonding sites that eliminate microbes down on the molecular level, which breaks up regular cellular function and disrupts growth and reproduction. The downside of silver ion filters, however, is that they require frequent changing, so make sure to do this often to keep your portable air conditioning unit working at an optimal level. 3. Activated Carbon Filters Activated carbon filters are especially useful for getting rid of smoke odors and fumes given off by common household cleaners. These cleaners use a charcoal surface treated with oxygen to activate millions of microscopic pores found between the filter’s carbon atoms. These microscopic sites use chemical attraction to absorb and trap small molecules given off by odors. These filters, such as our RabbitAir BioGS Washable Activated Carbon Charcoal Filter, are the best filters for smokers, pet owners, or those whose home or office has heavy chemical odors. Always remember to keep your portable air conditioner up to date by replacing the activated carbon filter often. Unlike some of the other filters, these must be replaced instead of cleaned. These filters can be purchased inexpensively and in multipacks. 4. 3M Electrostatic Charge Filters The best way to deal with small airborne particles in your home is with the tightly interwoven electrostatically-charged fibers of 3M filters. The special charge is what pulls in the small airborne particles and locks them into place. These filters have an opposite aging effect from the antimicrobial air filters in that they actually become more efficient every time you use them. This is because all of the particles trapped against the fibers increase the filter’s amount of friction and static electricity. When this happens, additional particles can be pulled from the air through electrostatic attraction and mechanical filtration. 3M filters are especially useful if you desire to filter lint, mold, smoke, dust, pollen and mildew from the air. These filters are cheaper than the comparable antimicrobial air filters, although slightly less effective at removing some of the smaller microbes commonly found indoors. 5. Antimicrobial Air Filters Antimicrobial air filters are good for scrubbing the air of most microorganisms while preventing the growth of others. These filters use a special electrostatic and microstructure charge that grabs pollen, dust, mildew, smoke and mold spores. The electrostatic charge pulls in additional microorganisms from the air while the system of fibers firmly traps and holds captured airborne particles. Antimicrobial air filters are useful in that they provide constant pure airflow throughout your home or office. Conveniently, these filters can be cleaned by vacuuming or hand-washing; however, it is still recommended that you change your filter once every three months to ensure your electrostatic charge is at its strongest. Accessories for Portable Air Conditioners In addition to different types of filters, there are also several different types of accessories you can purchase for your portable air conditioning unit. If you’d like to use your unit in a room that doesn’t have any windows, you can use a drop ceiling vent kit for proper ventilation. Some installation may be required for this particular accessory, so check to be sure you have all necessary tools before buying a vent kit. You can also purchase a remote control for your air conditioner so that you can control your unit from anywhere in the room. If you do buy a remote, check to see that it’s compatible with your specific model. You may want to vary the type of portable air conditioner filter you use based on the season, your shifting needs and the overall air quality inside of your home. If you’d rather use a single type of filter, try them all out and see which one works best for you. Besides choosing the right air filter, you should also learn a few tips when it comes to properly maintaining and caring for your unit in order that it may last you for as many years as possible. Cooling vs. Cleansing As you can see, there are many different filters that are available for use in your portable air conditioner. While they are designed to help trap airborne particles that may pose a risk to your health, the main purpose of this popular appliance is to help you stay cool and comfortable — and save you money in the process. While the A/C filters do a great job at improving your indoor air quality, if your main concern is improving the overall air quality in your home, an air purifier is going to be the better purchase for you. However, an air purifier won’t keep you cool like a portable air conditioner will.