What You Should Know About Air Filters
An important and overlooked component of HVAC maintenance is replacing and cleaning the air filter. You should take care of your air filters if you want your HVAC system to work diligently and if you want it to last longer. The first thing anyone should check if the air conditioner or furnace doesn’t turn on is the air filter. This is everything you need to know about air filters in your Bay Area home, structure, or business.
Importance of Changing Air Filters
Everyone should know how to change air filters in their HVAC systems without professional help. This can help you save energy and money while improving indoor air quality which is fundamental in a high energy cost environment because of new policies. Make sure you check your air filters for debris, dust, and other contaminants at least once every month. You should consider changing the filter every 1 to 3 months even if the instructions state otherwise.
Never wait for more than 90 days to change the air filter in your HVAC system. Clean filters ensure that your system runs smoothly. It also helps in improving the indoor air quality of your home.
Choosing an Air Filter
These are a few factors you should consider while choosing an air filter:
Filters come in various shapes, sizes, and degrees of quality. You can differentiate the high-quality ones from low quality filters by reading their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value number, or a MERV rating. The higher the MERV scale, the better the product quality. Higher quality air filters are more effective in keeping dirt and other contaminants out.
There are three categories of air filter MERV ratings rated from 1 – 16. These are:
- Low-efficiency filters (MERV 1 – 6): This is the lowest ratings for air filters. They are made from fiberglass and don’t remove more than 10% of PM. Filters rated below 6 are not recommended for household purposes.
- Medium-efficiency filters (MERV 7 – 13): This is the preferred efficiency range for residential HVAC systems. These air filters are normally made from pleated cotton or polyester. They are 50% more effective than low-efficiency air filters. Auto emissions, mold spores, and other pollutants are effectively filtered out without blocking air flow.
- High-efficiency filters (MERV 14 – 16): High rated filters are the best at keeping your indoor air quality high. Their designs are similar to medium-efficiency filters. However, they filter out particles as small as 0.3 microns. These air filters are usually installed in restaurants, hospitals, and other public places where cleaner air is a requirement.
- HEPA filters: These air filters have a MERV rating of 17 – 20. HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air filters) are good enough to trap 0.3-micron particles and smaller. These filters have a drawback that they block airflow and can cause great damage to the HVAC system. They can also cause the utility bills to increase.
Other Factors to Consider
You need to make sure that you have the correct size of your air filter. Inch-thick air filters are usually recommended for residential systems. There are a plenitude of options where material and style are concerned. A good rule of thumb is to stick with the current style of your air filter. Inexpensive filters are usually rated the lowest and are not very efficient in keeping out dust and debris. Pleated HVAC filters tend to be more efficient.