All About Air Filters for HVAC
Air filters: Every HVAC system has one! Air conditioners and furnaces rely on them to work at their most efficiently, and changing them is a frequent at-home HVAC maintenance routine.
Yet for all the interaction homeowners have with filters, and for as important as they are in an HVAC system's health, it's all too common for the average person to know little to nothing about them!
But Furnace Doctors are here to shed some light on this topic: what filters are, how they work to deliver clean air, and why it's important that you keep up with their maintenance.
What Are Air Filters for HVAC?
Air filters generally are large, white, square pieces of material set beneath a fine mesh, though there are plenty of variations on this appearance. Some look like elongated doughnuts, others come in colors, and still, others resemble your standard pool filter more than the conventional image of an HVAC filter.
Many of them feature pleats to maximize their surface area and therefore catch as much dirt, grime, and dust as possible. They help protect the equipment with the proper level of filtration, increasing the longevity of the HVAC systems and are typically located either outside the cabinet in the ductwork or inside the air handler.
They come in three variations including:
● Fiberglass with a disposable design that needs to be changed more frequently.
● Polyester or pleated filters that last between three months and up to a year.
● Washable works better at filtering particulates, and instead of replacement, this option only needs a thorough cleaning and can be reused.
How Do Air Filters Work?
It's a pretty simple process, really! Air flows from your home into what's called an intake vent, which is generally large and located quite near your HVAC system. Then, that air is forced mechanically through the filter.
The filter allows air to pass through but is solid enough to trap contaminants like dust mites, pet dander, and dirt. Following this mechanical "washing," air is allowed to circulate through your ducts and return to the home. That's why it's important to invest in duct cleaning regularly.
If clean air, courtesy of your air filter, just picks up accumulated dust and debris on its way back into your home, this whole filtration system is as good as worthless, and your HVAC will be pulling needless overtime.
Why Proper Air Filtration Maintenance Is Important
Vent cleaning is important to maintain the health of your HVAC system, sure, but so is regularly tending to your filter. Because it mechanically traps and holds contaminants, each filter is finite in its capacity, no matter its MERV rating (how good at trapping those contaminants it is).
Eventually, your filter will become so clogged with debris (gross!) that air has a hard time passing through it, which makes your HVAC system work harder, and your energy bills skyrocket.
Moreover, a clogged filter is inefficient at trapping further contaminants, as it's already fully saturated with them. Basically, a dirty filter means a dirty house.
While not every situation is a one-size-fits-all, the general rule is to replace the filter between 30 and 60 days. The replacement measurement is based on your household's habits, and the 30-day mark is recommended if your home encounters any of the following:
● Smog or poor outdoor air quality
● Cooking frequency
● Your home's square footage and age
● Using scented candles
● Smoking inside
● Using wood-burning fireplaces
● People with allergies or sensitivities
● How often the unit is used
Signs Your Air Filter Needs to Be Replaced
It's no secret that having a regular inspection is critical to keeping your home in its best condition, and your HVAC filters are included! Four key signs your filters need to be replaced are
● The filter is filled with dust, dirt, or other debris.
● You are finding dust and debris around the air vents or built up in the ducts.
● Strange or musty odors are coming from the HVAC system.
● Your utility bills have increased from the HVAC system working harder due to the dirty filter.
Furnace Doctors: Your Friends in Air Quality Control
Keeping your HVAC system running smoothly depends on your filter changes, and Furnace Doctors has you covered when you need experts in the field! For over 40 years, we have been providing exceptional heating and cooling services in the Twin Cities, and we offer a satisfaction guarantee that you can count on.
Getting the most out of your system starts by calling us at 651-789-3082 or messaging us online to connect with our team.