The air filters in your HVAC system are some of its most important parts. When you don’t properly clean your filters, dust and debris will find their way in and clog them up. They can only stay clogged for so long before bigger problems happen. First, the clogs come unstuck and blow out into the air you breathe. Second, when airflow can’t get through your unit properly, it’s only a matter of time before parts burn out from working too hard and the unit breaks down.
If you find you don’t have the time to keep up with your HVAC’s air filters as needed, our team at Ambient Edge can help. Give us a call for service at (928) 433-2979. If it has been a while since you last cleaned your filters, don’t delay – call us immediately!
Why HVAC System Filters Are So Important
In your HVAC unit, you have air filters in both the air conditioner and the furnace. The most basic function of an air filter is that it is supposed to clean the air that flows through each of these units. When the air filter gets dirty, well, you can just imagine how clean the air that flows through it will be (not very).
Filters clean the air by trapping large particles of dust and debris that is otherwise harmful for you and your family to breathe in. In addition to standard dust, other such contaminants generally include:
- Metal particles
- Wood particles
- Animal fur and dander
Your air conditioner in particular forces air through the unit where the filter cleans it, then forces the air back out again, drier and cooler. If your filter is dirty, not only does it force more of these particles back into your house (in addition to whatever loosens up from the filter), but these particles also stop your HVAC unit from properly doing its job.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Air Filters
Maintaining the filters in your furnace and air conditioner is crucial to keeping your HVAC unit functioning at maximum efficiency. In fact, on most service calls we go out on, a dirty air filter is the reason for the breakdown. It can cause everything from a slight malfunction to a complete breakdown that ends up damaging your equipment, forcing you to replace it.
When your HVAC unit’s air filters are dirty, this can also cause pollutants to back up into your ductwork. If you don’t have your ducts regularly cleaned, these pollutants will come back into your home later on. Since they were sitting up there a while, they will probably come back with more bacteria and mold spores than were up there initially.
Dirty air filters also cause your unit to work harder. This drives up your energy usage, which results in wasted resources, including more money spent on your utility bill. As you can see, a dirty air filter is a more pressing issue than many may think it is.
When to Clean Your Air Filters
Generally, you should check your air filters once a month and clean them if they appear dirty. If you use your HVAC system round the clock (like the air conditioner during the hot summer months), you may want to clean them more often.
The best way to tell when they are dirty is to hold them up to a light source. If you can’t see light through it, even after cleaning it, then you need to change it.
A good rule of thumb is to change your filters every 90 days. If you have pets, you should change them every 60. This is because the filters will trap the dead hair and dander in the air and will clog more frequently.
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Understanding MERV Ratings
Every air filter has a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). The MERV tells you how efficient that particular air filter is. A MERV rating usually falls somewhere in the range of 1 to 16, and the higher the number, the more efficient the filter. If you have a more expensive HVAC unit, you may need to purchase a filter with a higher MERV for maximum efficiency.
However, and this is important, a higher MERV rating means that the filter can also disrupt airflow. More simply, it allows less airflow through your HVAC system, which is just as bad as a clog with respect to reducing the efficiency of your unit. Most homes can use filters with a MERV rating in the 7 to 10 range. Our experts can help you decide which filter is best for your unit.
Do You Have Questions About Air Filters? We Can Help!
With so many years in this business, and so many service calls related to air filters, we’ve learned a thing or two about which HVAC units should use which filters, and how often you should replace them. If you need help with the air filters in your HVAC unit, there’s no better company to call.
Call our team at Ambient Edge at (928) 433-2979, or send us a message on our website. We can help with everything from advising you on which filter to buy to helping you maintain them so you get the most out of them and your HVAC unit. Call us today!