Air conditioning is sometimes required because of health issues, allergies and respiratory conditions. Indoor-air quality standards have improved over the last 30 years due to the tighter building envelopes for energy efficiency. Today, codes and regulations require this for all commercial building, but not necessarily for the homes.

Good air quality within an air-conditioned home requires a good filtration system, good maintenance, a minimum amount of outside air and a clean and maintained home.

All filtration is measured by a MERV rating (Minimal Efficiency Reporting Value), ranging from 1 to 20, 15 being the most efficient for residential applications.


Air filters come standard on all air conditioners. The most minimal is the sponge-like material found on window units and ductless split systems (MERV 1). These are the least efficient and they primarily stop dust and particulate from accumulating on the cooling coil.

Central-ducted systems, like Carrier’s Infinity system, allow for filtration upgrades. These usually come with 1-inch-thick filter panels. Least efficient are the fiber-mesh, which is washable and re-usable (MERV 2-3, less than 15 percent efficiency). An upgrade is the throwaway type, fiberglass (MERV 4, 15 percent) and the pleated type (MERV 7, 30 percent). Throwaway means when dirty, you throw it away and replace it. Replacements can be purchased at any hardware or air-conditioning parts stores. You just need to remember the size.

The ultimate is the electronic filter available for Carrier’s Infinity system, which has a MERV 15 (99.5 percent efficiency). Besides dust and particulate, it captures viruses, allergens, mold and fungicidal spores. It kills them on contact. This requires electrical power and additional up-front cost, but it provides hospital-clean air for those most concerned about their health.

Headquartered in Kapolei, Carrier Hawaii is Hawaii’s largest air conditioning distributor. For more information, call 677-6339 or visit

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