What is the Standard Size of an Air Filter?

Learn how to identify standard-sized air filters for AC and HVAC units as well as custom-sized filters for central air return grilles.

What is the Standard Size of an Air Filter?

Air conditioning and HVAC units require a specific size filter to operate correctly and efficiently. Most of these units use standard-sized filters, but some require the purchase and installation of a custom-sized air filter. The easiest way to identify the AC filter size is to remove the existing filter from its slot and examine the filter frame. Usually, the size is printed along the edge of the filter frame.

Note that the size shown in bold type on the filter frame is the nominal size of the filter, which is likely to differ from its actual size. If the actual dimensions do not appear in small print on the filter frame, it is recommended to measure the filter for double checking. In this case, you should round down to the nearest integer to determine the nominal size of the air cleaner. The actual size of your air filter should be 0.25 -0.5 smaller than the slot or frame itself. HVAC unit slots are usually located near the bottom of the air handler.

It's best to have a little wiggle room in the slot of the HVAC unit, so you can easily slide the filter in and out without it bending or breaking. If you have to jam the air filter to install it, you should try a different brand of oven filter or a custom-sized air filter with a slightly smaller actual size. Central air return grilles are usually located on the ceiling of the hallway or on the wall of the hallway of your home. If the return grille is in the ceiling, you may prefer to use a filter that has a slightly larger actual size, so that it does not fall on you when you open the vent. When purchasing a custom-sized air filter, it's important to remember the difference between nominal and actual sizes.

Once you determine the exact dimensions that work best for you, place an order for your filter size with exact fraction or decimal of your preferred measurements. Otherwise, you may get a different actual size than you expected. Understanding more about sizes of air conditioning and oven filters can ensure you find perfect size for your home. There are several great options to buy air filters online and have them delivered conveniently to your door. There are hundreds of varying sizes of oven filters because air filters and ovens are same.

Worse, improperly sized air filters can put excessive strain on your HVAC system, damage it, and increase your energy bills. If that doesn't work, you may be able to find proper dimensions of air cleaner in your HVAC manual. Whole house AC filters with size approximately 3 to 6 inches wide can have lifespan 6 to 12 months depending on environmental conditions. To check size, turn off system, remove filter from compartment and observe dimensions. This creates charged particles that will attract other particles in air for better filtration when using electrostatic filters. Then use measuring tape or other measuring device to measure length, width, and depth of inner edge of groove or frame of air cleaner.

Each brand manufactures filters with slightly different actual sizes, so check exact measurements of each filter before purchasing. Oven filter sizes for standard sizes (also known as standard AC and oven filter sizes) and hard to find are included in list with actual sizes and MERV options. If it isn't, best way to determine size you need is to measure filter that's already there, assuming it's right size.

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