Filters are just as important to your home heating and air conditioning system as they are to your car. They keep dust and other impurities out of your HVAC system, making it run more efficiently and extending its lifespan. Even more important, keeping those impurities out of your home lets you breathe easier. Filters are especially helpful for those with chronic respiratory issues. The following outlines four basic things you should know about filters.
Filters with High MERV Ratings Perform Better
A MERV rating, standing for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, rates the quality of your filter. The ratings run from 1 to 20, based on the amount of dust and particulates they filter out of the airflow. The higher the filter rating, the more impurities it captures. If you put a low-rated filter next to one with a high MERV rating, you can see that the weave in the latter is tighter and often thicker.
Filters Must Be The Correct Size
Different car engines have different filters, and it's the same for HVAC systems. Your owner's manual lists the specific type and size filter that works in your system. The manual also shows you where the filter is located. Sometimes you can just open up the back and lift out the old filter and match the size.
Most filters come pre-framed or in bulk, cut-to-fit rolls. The pre-framed ones usually have the sizes printed on the frame. Just buy the same size and change it. The bulk filters must be cut to the proper size so that they fit snugly in the HVAC filter holder. It is sometimes possible to get these filters from a hardware store, but usually they are installed by professional HVAC technicians.
Filters Need To Be Installed Facing The Right Direction
If you look at most filters, you'll see that the weave on each side is different. They are designed for one-way airflow. If the filter is installed backwards, it won't "filter" and may even impede airflow. The pre-framed filters are marked with arrows so it's pretty hard to make a mistake. If you are installing the cut-to-fit ones, you might want to ask at the hardware store if you're not sure about which direction is which. Or, let a professional deal with it.
Filters Need Regular Changing
Dirty air filters can cause your HVAC system to work harder. You might find your system cycling on and off more frequently. Even worse, you don't notice there's a problem until your much higher utility bill arrives. If you've taken care of the filter issue and are still noticing frequent cycling or higher bills, it's time to call in a technician.
For more information, contact Doc Dancer Heating, Air Conditioning & Generators or a similar company.