How often should I replace my air filter?
Changing your HVAC system air filter is the simplest thing that any homeowner can do for their heating and air conditioning system. Without proper airflow, your system can not do its job of keeping you comfortable.
Some may say to replace your filter every 3 months but After Hours Heating & Cooling, as well as some equipment manufacturers, recommend monthly replacement. Just replace it when you pay your utility bill as an easy way to remember. The relatively low cost of commonly found air filters is well worth avoiding some of the long term impacts of having dirty air filters.
How does a dirty air filter impact my HVAC system?
As a filter becomes dirty, it puts extra strain on the fan motor moving air throughout your home. Although some modern fan motors are capable of speeding up to somewhat compensate for it not all have this ability, especially older models. Just remember that in either scenario, your motor is working harder and using more energy.
A dirty air filter will also cause more dirt to be pulled into your HVAC unit and duct system. This will cause some of the trapped dirt to eventually be pulled through to the blower wheel and evaporator coil, which can create indoor air quality concerns as well as create a costly expense when you need to have it professionally cleaned.
Lack of proper airflow also puts more stress and strain on your air conditioner’s compressor (the heart of the system). Compressor replacement can be very expensive.
What MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating should I use?
We recommend staying between MERV 6 and MERV 11 rated air filters during your monthly filter replacement. This range of filtration will capture most of the things that can, over time, clog your evaporator coil as well as still allow proper airflow.
If you feel that you need more filtration due to a family member having severe allergies, speak with your HVAC professional. They should be able to assess your airflow system to determine if it can handle the extra strain or if there is anything that can be done to allow for a more dense air filter. There are also other options such as UV lights that can added to your duct system to greatly reduce or eliminate airborne particles.
HVAC Maintenance and Airflow
Replacing your air filter monthly, coupled with twice yearly HVAC system checks will help to prevent major (and costly) repairs. This combination will also ensure that your system is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, as well as extend the useful life of your HVAC system.
At After Hours Heating & Cooling we believe in HVAC maintenance, which is why we offer two great options for service plans! Visit our HVAC Maintenance page to learn more!