The Importance of Changing Your HVAC Air Filter
Air filters are an important part of your home heating system. If the air filter doesn’t filter good enough, the evaporator and blower can clog up causing heating and cooling issues and expensive repairs. Air filters that are too restrictive due to being dirty, or air filters with too high a MERV rating( filters that filter too efficiently ) can cause air flow restrictions, which leads to inefficient heating/cooling – and causes equipment to suffer from increased workloads which can shorten the life of your equipment and lead to expensive repairs.
The frequency to change filters depends on a number of factors like how much traffic you have in your home, type of flooring, whether or not you have pets and how many, type of filter your unit requires, general air quality in the area which you live, and how often your unit runs. We recommend checking your filter once a month. Programmable thermostats can be programmed to remind you to do this, or another simple way to remember is to associate your electric bill with the task, then just check your filter whenever you get an electric bill. Change your filter when it is dirty.
There are several types of filters you can install in your heating unit. Economy panel filters are the cheapest and filter the least amount. They have a MERV rating (how effective a filter is) of between 0 and 4 and filter less than 20% of air pollutants from your home. Pleated filters are what we recommend most. They can remove up to 45% of pollutants from your home. As a general rule we like to use filters with a MERV Rating of 8. Higher ratings are not always better because higher rated filters can cause reduced airflow in your system and put a damaging amount of pressure on the fan of your furnace. The trick here is to install the highest MERV rated filter that still allows maximum system airflow. Electronic air filters are the most expensive. These filters have cells that can be removed, cleaned and reused. They use an electric field to trap changed particles thereby removing a higher percentage of pollutants. Electronic air cleaners do not use a MERV rating.
Once you know the right filter to install in your system, keeping up with your air filter maintenance is easy and can improve the efficiency of your system 5 to 15 percent cutting costly utility bills and improving the life of your system.