The primary purpose of your home’s HVAC system is to distribute heated and cooled air throughout your living spaces in the most energy-efficient way possible. A secondary function is to improve the indoor air quality of your home, and that’s all about making sure your air is as clean and healthy to inhale as it can be. Your system’s air filters help keep dust and toxic microorganisms from polluting the air that you breathe.
Our HVAC pros at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling are here to emphasize the importance of air filters and provide everything you need to know to care for yours!
Preserving your air quality
You probably already know the size of filter you need, but do you know what filter type is best for you? Most of the time, a balanced approach is best – that is, a filter that traps dust and dirt but still allows air to flow through. Filters are intended to protect your HVAC system by blocking airborne particles from reaching the critical components of your system.
For example, ordinary household dust can coat your evaporator coil and overwork your air conditioner. Dust is typically composed of fine dirt particles, chemical particulate, soot and ash, and paint fragments, among other things. Ick!
Some filters can also block biological air contaminants and prevent them from harming your health. These airborne threats include mold and bacteria spores, skin cells, pollen, algae, and dead dust mites. Ew!
And then there’s lint. The tiny bits we generally call “lint” are clothing and carpet fibers, human and pet hair, plant fibers, and probably even spider webs. Blech!
Surprisingly, the EPA has found that your indoor air is up to five times more polluted than outside air. Why? It’s because your home’s lack of external ventilation allows indoor toxins to accumulate to unhealthy levels. This is where a good air filter is crucial!
Types of filters
Fiberglass mesh filters. These filters are thin and allow plenty of airflow, but they aren’t great at catching dust or debris.
Tightly pleated filters. All filters are rated on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale. Among other factors, a filter’s MERV rating refers to how tight its pleats are, and the higher its MERV rating, the tighter the pleats are. A MERV rating of 13 or higher does a fantastic job of protecting your home – and your system – from dust and other allergens, but this superior protection comes with a cost. It can overwork your unit and cause it to overheat.
Washable filters. These reusable filters can save you money over time – if you remember to pull your filter out and wash it! However, even if you’re regularly washing your filter, it’s a challenge to clean the filter thoroughly. Also, over time, washable filters can break down and become less effective.
We recommend pleated filters for your unit for an ideal balance of airflow and protection, but not ones with overly tight pleats. Instead, choose a wide-pleated filter with a MERV rating of around 8 to 11, and it should be just right!
We can’t stress this enough – as a best practice, we recommend changing your air filters each month – especially if you have pets. A clogged filter is a hazard to your system and your health. Each day, our techs see the damage that neglecting a filter can do. It’s preventable, and it’s low-cost.
Neighborly Tip: Having trouble remembering to change your filter? Set a recurring reminder in your smartphone’s calendar app!
The blower in your HVAC system circulates about 1,400 cubic feet of air per minute – that’s a lot of continuous air! Think about all the airborne particulates that are moving along with it. The front-line defense to removing these particles is the air filter inside your HVAC system, so make sure to keep it nice and clean for the best results.
Northeast Ohio HVAC preventive maintenance
Prevent air conditioning breakdowns this summer and every summer – be sure to change your air filters! Call the pros at Hey Neighbor Heating & Cooling for seasonal maintenance and any questions you might have about air filters. Our expert technicians make sure that your system is running efficiently year-round! Call us at 844-HEY-NEIGHBOR or schedule a service visit online today!