According to Punxsutawney Phil, we’re in for an early spring! It also means time to start thinking about Spring air conditioner maintenance. People ask us what they can do to ensure their system is ready for warmer days. One of the most important steps you can take is to change the HVAC filter monthly. But, it’s not for the reason you think.
What’s an HVAC Filter For?
Do you believe the primary job of your HVAC filter is to remove airborne dust, dirt, and pollen from the air you breathe? Or, its function is to remove pet danger, bad odors, or tobacco smoke. If you said yes to any of the above, you’re in good company, but also wrong.
While your HVAC filter does help manage those things, the primary function of your HVAC filter is to clean the air that circulates through your heating and cooling system. By trapping and holding many types of particulates and contaminants, it helps keep the cooling coil clean, free of clogs, and efficient during the life of your system.
A dirty coil can cause reduced airflow. A unit with a dirty coil or furnace blower runs longer, increasing your utility bills, decreasing efficiency, and shorten the lifespan of your furnace and air conditioner.
How do I choose the right filter?
Not all filters operate at the same capacity. You’ll want to check the MERV ratings. This rating determines the efficiency and performance of the air filter. The standard MERV values range from one to sixteen. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration.
- MERV 1-4 filters provide the basic level of filtration and are generally the cheapest you can buy.
- MERV 6-8 filters are peated cloth or paper filters that provide proper filtration. They can capture very small particles of 1 micron or larger.
- MERV 13-16 are high-efficiency filters and can remove tiny particulates of 0.3 microns or larger.
You can find HVAC filters rated about MERV 16. These filters are usually very effective, but they’re also thick and dense and can interfere with the airflow inside of your HVAC unit. Remember, restricted airflow reduces the efficiency of your cooling and heating system and possibly do damage. Before choosing a filter with a MERV rating higher than sixteen, make sure your equipment can handle the higher filtration before installing one.
Air Filter Maintenance
All of the heated or cooled air in your home will eventually pass through the air filter. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you keep clean filters in your heating and cooling equipment. By changing your air filters monthly, you can rest assured that you’ve done one of the most essential tasks for continued comfort, efficiency, and life span of your home’s central heating and cooling system.