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A Complete Guide to HVAC Air Filters

HVAC Air Filters
Posted on in Articles

Air filters may be small, but they’re essential to keeping your Rose City, Texas, HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently. Learn how HVAC filters work, find out what type you need, and discover when to replace them in this complete guide to HVAC air filters.

How HVAC Filters Work

First, it’s important to know what exactly air filters do and why they’re so important. Most offer two different levels of protection.

On one level, they act as protective shields for your heating and cooling system. That means filters work hard to trap dust, dirt, and other airborne particles before they enter your HVAC system. This helps to keep the inner workings of your HVAC system clean and prevents buildups that can damage your system or cause a breakdown.

In addition, most air filters also strive to protect your home’s indoor air quality. That means they can remove indoor pollutants and airborne particles that trigger allergy or asthma attacks. This helps keep your family healthy and clears the air in your home.

Common Air Filter Types

When you purchasing an air filter, you’ll get to choose among several common types. Most HVAC filters are disposable, which means you’ll use them just once. When their time is up, throw them out and replace them with a new one. Many disposable air filters are pleated and made of polyester, but others are made from fiberglass and don’t have pleats.

A select few air filters aren’t designed for single usage. Instead, they’re reusable, you’ll need to wash them between uses to remove the accumulated dust and debris. Take care to let these filters dry completely before reusing, or you could inadvertently introduce a mold or bacteria problem.

Standard HVAC Filter Sizes and Ratings

In addition to the variety of materials, HVAC filters come in a range of sizes and dimensions. Before purchasing, always confirm that the filter’s dimensions match your HVAC system’s requirements. You can’t trim down an overly large filter to fit with your HVAC system, and a filter that’s too small won’t do an adequate job of filtering particles.

At Thermacon Service Company, we also recommend checking the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating on each filter before purchasing. This rating indicates how effective the filter is at filtering out contaminants, and a higher number means more filtration power.

  • MERV 1-4: These filters provide minimal filtration and cost the least. Washable and disposable fiberglass filters often fall into this category.
  • MERV 5-8: These filters provide moderate filtration, but they aren’t adequate for all households.
  • MERV 9-12: These filters provide high-quality filtration and have pleats to capture as many contaminants as possible. They are ideal for most households
  • MERV 13-16: These high-efficiency filters provide excellent filtrations, but they’re often designed for industrial HVAC systems, not residential heating and cooling systems. Not sure if these filters work with your system? Call our team for expert advice.

When to Replace Air Filters

We typically recommend replacing your HVAC filter every three months, but there are several reasons why you may need to switch yours out more frequently. For instance, when your air conditioner runs constantly, such as during the summer, you should replace the air filter once a month to keep your HVAC system running smoothly. If you have pets or if any of your family members suffer from seasonal or year-round allergies, you’ll also want to replace the filter every month or two.

No matter how often you replace the filter, the process is relatively easy. First, turn off the air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace. Follow the printed directions to make sure you’re orienting it properly. Make sure that no gaps remain between the unit and the filter, and then turn the HVAC system back on to enjoy the clean, freshly filtered air. Be sure to note the date that you changed the filter and mark your calendar for the next replacement date.

Whether you need advice on indoor air quality, HVAC efficiency, or seasonal maintenance, we’re here to help. Call the Thermacon Service Company at 866-797-1535 for answers to all of your HVAC questions.

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