In the United States, the most common way to stay comfortable indoors is through forced heating and cooling systems. As we’ve emphasized in the past, air filters are a crucial component to the overall function of your HVAC system. Air filters must be replaced regularly in order to keep your heating and air conditioning units working efficiently. It is also important to get the right air filter for your system. When searching for the right replacement filter, there are a number of things to consider. You may think that the brand of the filter matters, however, the best choice is the filter that removes the most pollutants (MERV rating) while allowing your HVAC system to perform efficiently. The following are some sommon misconceptions about air filters that will help you better understand their importance.
Seven Air Filter Misconceptions
Air Filters Just Keep Dust off the Equipment
Granted, as this was the original purpose of HVAC air filters, they’ve come to serve an even more important purpose: filtering out airborne contaminants and particulates from the indoor air we breathe. In other words – improving your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)!
Air Filters Don’t Need to be Replaced as Often as Recommended
If air filters are not cleaned or replaced regularly, they become ineffective which can lead to a multitude of problems. A neglected air filter that is not cleaned/replaced on a regular basis will become clogged with large amounts of airborne particles until it is completely blocked and the dust/mold is forced back into our indoor air. Dirty air filters also restrict air flow putting strain on your HVAC equipment, therefore increasing your energy bills. Make sure you check the your filter monthly and clean or replace it according to the manufacturer’s directions. For the best results, change your air filter every 30 days!
Pet Owners Don’t Need to Change the Filter More Often
If you own a pet, you may need to change the air filter up to twice as often, especially if you have multiple long-haired breeds. Pet hair and dander is an allergen found all over and throughpout homes with pets and can build up quickly, thus reducing the efficiency of the air filter. Try using free-standing room air cleaners to add extra filtration to rooms where your pet is located most often and high-efficiency pleated air filters to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
All Filters are the Same
When choosing between air filters, the first thing to understand are MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiently Reporting Value and it is this number that tells you the effectiveness of your chosen air filter. MERV ratings are calculated by measuring the number of particles a filter can trap compared to the number the particles its trying to filter. Basically, this means that if there are two filters in the same room, the one that traps fewer particles has a lower MERV rating. However, if you simply choose by selecting the filter with the highest MERV rating, then you may be purchasing an air filter that can make your HVAC system less efficient by blocking too much of the air flow and eventually causing equipment damage, plus higher energy bills. The best choice is the filter that removes the most pollutants (MERV rating) while still allowing your HVAC system to perform as efficiently as possible.
High-Efficiency Filters Can be Used in any HVAC System
If you insist on using high-efficiency air filters, it may require some HVAC system modifications in order to increase the fan output to compensate for the restricted airflow. As stated above, if you choose a filter with the highest MERV rating (meaning the highest efficiency) that isn’t meant for your particular HVAC system, you could be making it less efficient by blocking too much of the air flow. Air filters with a MERV 8 filter could require this modification if your furnace came with a MERV 4 or lower filter.
All Filters are the Same Size
Each air conditioning system or HVAC unit has a certain sized filter that allows the filter to perform both correctly and efficiently. The filters don’t need to fit with an “air tight” seal, but you should be able to easily install and uninstall your filter without a struggle. Your filter should be a bit smaller on each side of the filter housing slot, allowing you to slide the filter in and out with ease. For most systems you can use a standard sized filter within 5/8 of an inch smaller than the air filter housing. Most AC and HVAC units use standard sized filters, but some do require a custom size air filter to be purchased and installed. Why is the filter size important? According to EPA.gov, incorrectly designed or installed filter frames can cause air seepage, which significantly decreases filter effectiveness. Plus any air flow resistance caused by using a filter that is not correctly sized can result in unnecessary stress on you HVAC unit, potential damage to your AC system and increase your energy bills.
Buying One Air Filter at a Time
Air filters may seem like something that you don’t need to keep in stock at your house, but if you stick to changing it monthly, the day sneaks up on you. Therefore – it’s wise to stock up. Buy a whole box of air filters. That way, you have a stockpile available when the time comes to change the filter. It’s easier to keep up on this task if you don’t have to make a trip to the store in order to change the filter.
We’ve outlined a few of the most common misconceptions when it comes to air filters. That being said, remember that one of the most important things you can do on your own to take good care of your expensive heating and air conditioning system is to simply change your air filter on a regular basis. The air filter in your unit is often one of the least expensive and easiest items to change. Additionally, replacing a dirty or clogged filter can have an immediate positive effect on the operation of the unit and its ability to keep the air in your home at the desired temperature without causing unnecessary strain on the moving components. A clean, fresh filter right before the approaching hot summer months will get you off to a great start!
US Home Filter offers FREE SHIPPING on any order!
At US Home Filter, we appreciate each and every one of our customers. We are here to help you choose the best solutions for your individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or if you are overwhelmed by choosing the right custom size air filter, we will be happy to personally work with you to help ensure you order exactly what you need and clear up any misconceptions! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.