An air filter is designed to perform two important functions. First, they clean the air as it re-circulates through your home. Second, air filters prevent dust and debris from sticking to your HVAC system and decreasing its performance. Selecting the right air filter and replacing it regularly are the best and easiest things you can do to maintain your equipment and boost your home’s indoor air quality.
When to Change Your Air Filter
As a general rule, return filters should be inspected or replaced monthly. Specific recommendations depend on the type of air filter, the size and configuration of your equipment and other factors within your home. If you have pets or live in an older house with dust problems, you’ll need to change your filter more frequently. Some pleated filters are designed for up to three months of continuous use, but the air filter should still be inspected monthly.
Using a calendar to document filter changes is one strategy for handling this monthly chore. Another good tip is to mark the installation date and expected time of replacement on the edge of the filter. Whether you have a central air conditioner, a heat pump or a furnace, dirty filters compromise the performance of your heating and cooling system and force it to work harder. When air flow is restricted, your HVAC system may freeze up or develop other serious problems. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a clogged filter can reduce your system’s energy use by 5 to 15 percent, and there are other benefits as well.
How to Find Your Air Filter
The location of your disposable HVAC filter depends on the type of system and its configuration. If you have a heat pump that handles all of your heating and cooling needs, the filter will be located behind a large wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted return grille that pulls air into the system. If you have a furnace or split system, the filter will generally be located in the furnace’s blower compartment or in a special filter case. If you need help locating the filter panel or aren’t sure how to replace the filter, contact Airforce Heating and Air. We’ll be happy to visit your home or provide assistance over the phone.
What Type of HVAC Air Filter Should I Use?
Better filters remove more contaminants, but they also have a higher air resistance. For best results, you need a filter that removes small particles but has low resistance. Here are a few performance guidelines based on the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of available filters.
- Standard electrostatic fiberglass filters have MERV ratings between 1 and 4. These filters remove 20 percent of particles, including dust, pollen and fibers that are larger than 10 microns.
- Disposable pleated filters with a synthetic or cotton-polyester capture area have MERV ratings between 5 and 8 and are ideal for residential use. They remove dust and mold spores measuring between 3 and 10 microns.
- Rigid box filters that are installed in a special assembly have MERV ratings between 9 and 16 and remove up to 75 percent of particles between 1 and 3 microns. These indoor air quality products are ideal for individuals with allergies or mold sensitivities.
If you aren’t satisfied with the performance of your current filtration system, have our indoor air quality experts assess your home. Call Airforce Heating and Air to schedule an appointment or request more information. Check our site for coupons and special offers on air cleaners, preventive maintenance and our most popular services.