Maintaining the air quality in your home includes understanding the air filters that your cooling and heating system uses.
Maintaining air filters for your cooling and heating system is important because they remove particles from the air, keeping your system running efficiently and improving the air quality in your home. Over time, air filters can get clogged and dirty, so they must be replaced or cleaned regularly.
It is important to be familiar with the style of air cleaner that you are using. A properly fitted filter is essential. So, first, check your system’s owner’s manual to determine the size you need.
Then consider MERV ratings. MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value, is a rating of air filters’ effectiveness. It runs on a scale of 1 to 20, with MERV 20 filters being most effective at catching airborne particles.
A higher-rated filter isn’t necessarily best for your system, however. For example, filters rated on the MERV scale from 17 to 20 are known as HEPA filters, and they’re often so dense they’ll limit the airflow in your residential heating and cooling system — hurting more than helping. Instead, a filter rated from MERV 7 to 13 might be best. It’ll catch nearly all your household particles without impeding your system’s airflow.
A MERV rating of at least 8 is recommended for those who have pets, due to the hair and dander. For individuals who suffer with allergies or other respiratory issues, go for a filter rated at least 9 to 12.
Other factors to consider:
- Some air filters contain activated carbon, which is recommended for those who have pets in the home. This material is a natural solution that can absorb many fumes and noxious odors.
- In general, you should check you air filter monthly and change or wash them as needed. Some air filters, however, may need to be cleaned or replaced more than once a month. This is especially true during seasons of high pollen, in households with numerous pets, in households that use candles or incense and during colder months.
Questions? Contact us at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida since 1962.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about selecting and maintaining air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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