If your heating and air conditioning system has a ventilation system, then it probably needs an air filter. If your system didn’t have an air filter, a few problems could potentially pop up. One potential problem is with your heating system. If dust and particles made their way through your unit, they could cause your unit to cycle on a high limit and put undue stress on the heat exchanger.
In the summer months, if the dust and particles blocked your cooling system’s indoor coil, your unit would most likely operate insufficiently or incorrectly. The coil itself is wet so anything that passes through gets packed onto the coil. Needless to say, a filter is a great preventative measure to help your system run efficiently and properly.
What do Air Filters do?
Primarily, air filters help block dust and particles from collecting on your heating and air conditioning system’s internal components. More specifically, filters prevent particles and dust from getting on your system’s blower wheel and indoor coil. In addition, some filters also filter out pet dander and allergens in your home. There are several types of filters including fiberglass, pleated, and electrically-charged filters. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out what type of filter your system needs.
How Often should I Replace My Air Filter?
We suggest checking your air filter monthly to monitor the need to replace it. Most likely you’ll need to replace it every three months. However, the answer to this question depends on the type of air filter your system requires, the season, and environmental factors inside your home. Another factor to consider is if your home has pets or a high occupancy. If either of these are true for your household, you may need to replace your filter more frequently. As a rule of thumb, a great way to determine the need to replace is simply by checking the filter yourself. If your filter is full of dust and particles, then it might be time to replace!
What Happens if I Don’t Replace my Filter?
Again, this can depend on how dirty the filter is and how urgent the need to replace it is. For most homes, we recommend checking your filter every month to see how dirty it is to gauge the need and urgency to replace it. If your system is operating with a dirty filter, the filter can restrict the airflow and prevent your unit to from operating as efficiently as it could.
How Effective is my Filter?
Most filters or their packaging will have a MERV rating on them. MERV stands for a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). This rating can be a useful guide for the effectiveness of the filter and consists of a ranking from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rank, the more efficient the air filter is at trapping dust and particles. If you’re concerned that your current filter might not be as effective as you would like, consider checking the MERV rating of it.
Any Helpful Tips?
Here’s a few additional tips about your air filter:
- Make sure you turn your heating and cooling system off before you check or replace your filter.
- Another helpful tip is to keep track of the date you last replaced your filter and ensure you are regularly checking and replacing it – one way to do this is to set a reminder on your phone or calendar. It’s an easy thing to forget.
- If you are checking your filter and notice that it has a plastic frame instead of a cardboard frame it could mean that it’s a reusable filter (instead of a disposable filter). If you are unsure if it’s a reusable filter, consider searching online for the filter’s model number and other information and see if it is listed as a reusable filter. A reusable filter is meant to be cleaned, not replaced.
Replacing the air filter in your heating and air conditioning system is an easy way to help your system run more efficiently. If it’s too late for a filter replacement to help your system run more efficiently, schedule a service call with our team of certified HVAC technicians.