Is It Time For A New Air Filter For Your HVAC System?
Is your HVAC system in top working condition? The only way to keep it that way is with regular maintenance.
And one of the key tasks of that routine maintenance process is changing the air filter on a regular basis.
Changing the air filter regularly can:
- Improve the air quality of your home. Air filters remove dust and allergens to provide you with cleaner, more breathable air.
- Reduce your energy bill. Clean air filters mean your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard.
- Give your HVAC system a longer life. Dust build-up can cause electrical problems down the road.
Air filters have a rating scale that makes it easy to assess which one is right for you. Filters use a reporting value called MERVs (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value); the higher the MERV rating, the small the particles have to be to pass through the filter. A MERV rating of 5 will provide the lowest level of efficiency, while one with a 16 will give the most efficiency.
Most residential HVAC systems use air filters made from synthetic fibers that trap the dust and debris and prevent them from circulating. You’ll find several different types of air filters:
Fiberglass filters are those inexpensive blue filters you find on the shelves of any home improvement or big box stores. You’ll find they have a MERV rating between 1 and 4, which means they will remove less than 10 percent of the air pollutants in your home. Fiberglass filters wear out quickly and have to be replaced on a regular basis.
Pleated filters are made of tightly woven polyester fabric. You’ll find these have a much higher MERV rating, usually somewhere between 10 and 13, and will typically remove up to 45 percent of the air pollutants within your home.
HEPA filters (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) fall into the pleated filter category, yet have added benefits. Tiny fiber papers are woven together to capture even small traces of pollen, dust, and biological growth. They often are coated with chemicals to help kill microbes that can do you the most harm. To qualify as a HEPA filter by US Government standards, it must remove 99.97 percent of particles that have a size of 0.3 microns or below.
You can also find both reusable and washable filters. While they may be touted as an inexpensive alternative, they are not recommended for optimal efficiency. They are difficult to clean, and when washing, it’s important to let them completely dry out before installing. Reusing while wet can introduce biological growth and mildew into your home.
What questions do you have about installing new air filters into your HVAC system?