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The air filter in your HVAC system is a critical component of the equipment. Checking your air filter every month and replacing it when it’s dirty is one of the most important tasks you can perform year-round to protect your system and keep your indoor air healthy. Here are three good reasons to replace your air filter when you can no longer see the white material behind the dust.
Reason #1: Protect Against Dust Buildup
When dust enters the interior of your heat pump, furnace or air conditioner, it settles on essential components. Dust on the coils prevents the optimum exchange of heat, and a dirty heat exchanger can cause damage that can be astronomically expensive to fix. A dusty motor or fan will likely fail sooner than they should. Dust buildup inside the system is bad news, no matter how you look at it, and keeping a clean filter in your system is the number one way to prevent the premature failure of its components.
Reason #2: Ensure Optimum Air Flow
A dirty filter makes it hard for air to pass through in the volume necessary to keep your system operating effectively and efficiently. Restricted airflow can cause your system to overheat and shut down, and the damage that results can be expensive to fix. Restricted airflow also means less air moving through your ducts, which translates to less comfort for you. And since your system has to work so hard to get air, its efficiency is considerably compromised, leading to higher energy bills.
Reason #3: Maintain Good Indoor Air Quality
The air in the typical home is much dirtier than the air outside, and in fact, the EPA has cited indoor air in the home as one of the top five environmental dangers. Particles like pollen, dust mites and pet dander can exacerbate allergies, and bacteria, mold spores and other contaminants can lead to respiratory illnesses later on. Maintaining good indoor air quality is essential for good health, and the filter in your HVAC system is designed to remove these particles from your air.
Choosing an Air Filter
All air filters are not created equal. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, scale indicates the quality of a filter based on the percentage of particles of a certain size the filter will remove from your air.
Filters with a rating of one to four are hardly worth using. They’re the cheapest available, but only minimally protect your system and don’t improve your air quality much. These filters trap less than 20 percent of the largest particles in the air.
Filters rated between 5 and 8 are medium-quality filters that trap between 34 and 85 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns in size, and will keep your air healthy.
Filters with a MERV rating of nine to 12 are the highest quality that will fit in a residential system. They trap up to 85 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns and up to 89 percent of particles as small as one micron. These filters are best for anyone who has a respiratory condition like asthma, COPD, or allergies.
Always check your system’s specifications before upgrading your air filter, It’s essential to balance optimum airflow with air cleaning, and higher-rated filters are denser than the lower-rated ones, and some may restrict the airflow to your system.
For more information about choosing and changing your air filter, please feel free to contact us at Comfort Control, Inc.