Replacing your HVAC system's filter monthly is an easy, cost effective way to extend the life expectancy of your unit. Read helpful information and tips from the HVAC pros.
How often do I need to change my Furnace Filter?
Check the documentation that came with your furnace. Recommendations vary based on a number of factors: the type of filter that you use, how many pets you have, whether anyone in your home has allergies, etc. If you use disposable fiberglass panel or electrostatic panel filters, you should change them anywhere from once a month to once every three months. Pleated filters generally last from 3 months to 6 months, again, always check your filter monthly, no matter what type filter you use. Filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change, so there is little reason to wait. If you don't change or clean your filter often enough the filter can get clogged with dust and other airborne particles, forcing your furnace to work harder to maintain airflow. This will reduce your furnace's efficiency and can cause damage.
What does MERV mean?
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV for short, is a filter rating system devised by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to standardize and simplify filter efficiency ratings for the public. The higher the MERV rating, the higher the efficiency of the air filter. Simply stated, a MERV 12 filter will remove smaller particles from the air than a MERV 8 filter. For the consumer this means that you now have the ability to effectively compare one filter to another. In general, any MERV 8 or 11 filter will perform about the same as any other MERV 8 or 11 filter, respectively. The MERV rating only applies to efficiency. Additions such as carbon, Lysol anti-bacterial treatment and Arm & Hammer baking soda are value-added benefits and are not an expression of the MERV rating system. If allergies or asthma are your concern, we suggest you choose a MERV 8 filter or higher.
What is a MERV Rating?
MERV is an acronym that stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.
What is a MERV Rating?MERV Rating is a filter comparison system designed by an industry group called the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Simply put, it's a rating scale designed to allow consumers to easily compare the performance of one filter to another.
Why is there a MERV Rating?It is designed to measure a filter's ability to capture and hold particles and pollutants. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles - dust mites, pet dander, air allergens, etc - your filter will remove from the air. Of course, screening out more particles from your air makes your air handler work a bit harder, so you may see a modest increase in power consumption by your air conditioning or furnace unit when choosing a higher MERV Rating.
How a MERV Rating benefits you?Matching the right MERV rating to your needs will improve your home's air quality and will extend the life of your furnace or air conditioner.
What is a high efficiency filter, and do I need a high efficiency filter if I have a high efficiency furnace?
Filter efficiency refers to the percentage of airborne particles that the filter removes. This is different from the fuel efficiency of your furnace (commonly measured as the AFUE). You can choose either a high-efficiency or a low-efficiency filter for your highly fuel efficient furnace. (Note, however, that failing to change / clean your filter regularly can reduce your furnace's fuel efficiency.)
What is the purpose of a furnace filter?
You may not find the filter in your home or business to be very important, but you should! There are actually 3 ways air can get filtered-1) through your AC filter, 2) it will get filtered through the AC coil and 3) it will get filtered again through YOURS and YOUR FAMILY'S lungs! Furnace manufacturers put inexpensive fiberglass filters into their furnaces to remove airborne particles that might damage the fan and the heating coil. Particle buildup can also decrease the efficiency of your furnace, as the furnace has to work harder to pull air through the return. More expensive filters can also improve the air quality in your house by removing pollen, bacteria and mold spores from the air. Don't let YOUR lungs be the filter for your air conditioner! Use the maximum efficiency filter designed for your system.This is especially important if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or respiratory illnesses. If you do not know which filter that may be, then just ask us, we will be glad to point you in the right direction!
Do I have to use a filter that is manufactured by the same company that makes my furnace?
Generally you can buy your filter from any source. Check with a filter vendor or the documentation that came with your furnace to be sure. However, ductless filters currently are O.E.M. (original equipment manufacturer) parts and are not available generically.
How do I determine which Filter to buy for my particular model of furnace?
Check the documentation that came with your furnace for filter size information. Consult with our factory trained technicians regarding the efficiency of the filter needed and whether that efficiency is compatible with your furnace's unit. Too high an efficiency, in some models, can cause too high of a static pressure for the motor and can cause premature motor failure.
How often should I clean my filter?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The frequency one should clean or change their A/C system's filter is highly dependent on many factors- 1) the type of filter being used, 2) how much traffic the home/office experiences, 3) presence of pets, 4) how much your heating and air conditioning system operates. Always start by checking your system's filter(s) once a month. If your home/office has remote filters in the wall/ceiling, do not forget to check and replace as indicated. For best practice, always follow the filter manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning or replacement. If you are unsure, please ask our trained service technicians.
We can help taking care of your new heating and cooling system. Enroll in our Service and Maintenance Program, and our Customer Care Specialists will send a technician to your home when it is time to check the whole system per manufacturer's guidelines to make sure it is safe to use and performs at peak efficiency and while they are there, they can check, clean and/or replace your filter, if available.
What are the life expectancies of filters?
Fiberglass filters last up to 30 days. Pleated filters can last up to 90 days. Washable filters should be washed every 30 days and last up to 5 years. Mini-pleated filters should be vacuumed every 60 days and will last up to one year. There is no "standard expectancy" for an air filter. It all depends on each home's characteristics, how many people live there, if there are pets, if there are smokers, how much air pollution and pollen is in your town, etc… The best way to make sure you are changing your air filter on time is to be proactive and regularly check it monthly. Mark it on your calendar, schedule it in your phone, or put a note on the refrigerator.
How often should I change my filter?
The life of your filter depends on your environment and the type of filter you have installed. To put it simply, there really is no concrete answer to this question. Certain things such as:
- the number of people who live in your home
- if there are pets in the house
- if there is a smoker in the house
- if you leave the windows open
- if you have pollen bearing trees or plants in the neighborhood
- if you live in an area with a lot of dampness
- if you live in an area that is dry or arid
- plus many others
If several of these factors sound familiar, you'll likely experience a quicker loading of particles on your filters and will consequently have to change it more often. A good rule of thumb is to check your filter every month. If you can hold the filter up to a light and not see through it, it is time to change your filter. At an absolute minimum, you should change your filter every three months. A clean air filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which could lead to expensive maintenance and utility bills.
How do you change a filter?
Modern central heating and air conditioning systems generally have the filter located as close to the blower unit as possible. The filter(s) can be located at the base of the air handler/furnace unit, in the cold air return duct located in your ceiling or on your wall. Remove the grill or box cover holding your filter in place.
Remove the dirty filter:
Dispose of the dirty filter in a bag to contain the dirt.
Install the new or cleaned and dried air filter with the air flow arrow pointing toward the blower. Record the date and wash or change the filter within the recommended period. If you experience higher dust levels in your home due to changes in outside air, construction or dry weather, you may need to change or wash your filter more frequently than the recommended period. For questions or concerns about the location or installation of the filter contact the HVAC manufacturer or give us a call. As a reputable HVAC contractor we can make recommendations that are right for both you and your system.
Why do I need to change my filter?
- Essentially your air conditioner filter is a collector of dust, dirt, grime and other nasty microscopic things that float around your home. When your heating or cooling system is turned on, it collects these particles to protect your system and clean your home's air, which protects YOUR lungs. Like the lint trap in your dryer, it accumulates a thick layer of these air borne particles as it circulates air throughout your home.
- Once it has trapped a certain amount, it becomes full and ineffective and gradually restricts the air flow moving through your system. This requires your system to work harder to keep you cool or warm, wasting energy and increasing your monthly bill. As air filters get dirtier, they also become less effective at capturing the airborne germs and pollutants that can irritate your family's breathing. Stuffy noses, sneezing, allergies and even asthma are triggered. Your family inhales what your filter can't handle any longer.
- An old and forgotten filter can eventually accumulate so much dirt and grime that it can totally choke off the air flow to the system causing a myriad of problems. In the worst case, the filter will be sucked into the blower motor and cause thousands of dollars in damage to your system.