The Importance of Clean Air Filters in Your Home

With the spring season coming into full bloom, it’s worth spending some time discussing your home’s HVAC system, and specifically, talking about the air conditioning filters that keep your system running smoothly and the air you breathe clean.

Pollen, dust, pet dander, bacteria, smog, smoke…

Particles like these (at least much of them) can be trapped by your air filter – which is what filters are designed to do – but without a clean air filter ready to capture this stuff, you’ll be left to breathe, wipe up, sanitize, and smell those pesky and irritating floaters. Plus, when the air flow is obstructed through a dirty filter, the dirt and pollen get clogged in the evaporator coil, which can increase energy use by 5 – 15%.

Dirty air filters can lead to costly repairs

No one wants to breathe dirty air in their home, so that alone should be enough motivation to keep your air conditioning filters clean. But neglecting to change your air filters can be expensive, as well. The debris, dust, pet hair, and even cigarette smoke that your filters capture can damage the system if the air filters are not frequently changed.

A good analogy to remember is that your air filters are the “lungs” of your house – so if your lungs are clogged, you’re going to have a harder time breathing, and eventually, you’ll get sick. Same thing goes for your home.

The 411 on air filter replacement

Fortunately, this whole “air filter replacement” problem that we’re discussing is actually very simple maintenance – you just have to remember to do it, where to do it, and you need to know a bit about filter ratings. In terms of standard filters, it’s all about the MERV rating, which indicates the ability of an air conditioning filter to remove dust from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the fewer dust, pollen, and other particles will pass through the filter. Filters range from MERV 1 to MERVE 16. You’ll even find some filters that work SO well, they’ll be off the MERV scale entirely!

As for the where, your air filter location will vary based on your home’s construction and the type of filter you have but in general, central air conditioning systems have the filters along the return duct’s length – so often they’ll be in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or even the unit itself. Room air conditioning units have a filter mounted right in the grill that feeds into the room.

In terms of replacement frequency, during the hotter months when your system is running frequently, you’ll want to replace them every month or two months. If you have pets, or if there’s a smoker in the home, replace them every 30 days.

If you’d like specific guidelines based on your system, schedule a service call with us – one of our helpful HVAC service professionals will let you know exactly how often to replace your filter, how to replace it, and they’ll recommend the optimal filter-type for your home’s HVAC system.

Don’t skimp when it comes to air filter quality

There are many things you can take shortcuts with, but air filters are worth the price. Cheaper air filters are less efficient and, over time, will break down a system. Our advice? Let the friendly heating and air service team at SSI give you a complete consultation on installing, brands, and a maintenance schedule for your home.

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