Think your air filter is only important during the winter months? Think again. Replacing your air filter is essential to ensure your heating and cooling system runs efficiently all year long.
Most HVAC systems have disposable filters that should be replaced at regular intervals. You should do it at a minimum at the start of each season; more frequently depending on the size and busyness of your home.
What does an air filter do?
An air filter is designed with two things in mind:
- It helps keep dirt and debris out of the internal components of your HVAC equipment
- It helps to purify the air that is circulated throughout your home
If dirt filters throughout your equipment, it gradually starts to build up on the internal components. If left for too long, it starts shutting down the system, the airway completely blocked. The equipment must have fresh air to function properly.
What should I look for when purchasing an air filter replacement?
When you look at replacement air filters, you’ll notice they have MERV ratings. MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings start at 1 and move up to 16, representing how well they perform at removing dust, pollen, and other debris from the air supply. Check with your equipment manufacturer to determine the right level for your home.
Air filters also range greatly in size. The size you need depends on the equipment you have in place. If you’ve never purchased one for your equipment before, you can find the size of the filter on the side of the filter currently in place. Gently remove it from the compartment and read the information on the side of the frame. You can also find your equipment’s make and model information and visit manufacturers' website for recommendations.
What happens if I skip air filter replacement?
It’s easy to ignore. Your equipment is often in the basement or tucked away in a closet. Why worry about something that’s “out of sight, out of mind?”
If you don’t replace your air filter and you let it operate month after month, year after year, without changing out the dirty filter, it can:
- Decrease air quality. If it can no longer pull out dust, pollen, and other contaminants of the air supply, it will be in the air you and your family breathe every day.
- Waste energy. Your HVAC equipment will have to work harder to heat and cool the air supply to your desired temperature. That means your utility bills will continue to rise as the equipment works harder and harder.
- Damage your equipment. The harder your heating and cooling system work, the less air moves freely throughout the system. Yet the equipment is designed with one thing in mind; it will continue the process of heating or cooling until it can no longer do so. A restricted air flow will cause corrosion, material breakdown, and reduce the lifespan of the equipment.
How can you ensure your heating and cooling system stays operating throughout the year? One of the simplest ways is with regular air filter replacement. This ensures the air supply is properly flowing and conditioned, meaning your HVAC equipment will be able to operate at its best.
When was the last time you had a check-up for your heating and cooling equipment?