When & Why should you replace your HVAC filters?
We are often asked about air filters as we service and repair HVAC units. Here are the top questions and answers about air filters to keep your A/C and heating system running its best.
Why should homeowners replace the air filters?
As HVAC systems rely on clean air to function properly, a dirty HVAC filter can cause a myriad of issues. Air conditioning will struggle, not keeping the house as cool, if the filters are dirty. Your heat, as well as your A/C will underperform if your filters are caked with dirt and dust. Clean HVAC filters can improve air quality, keep your Air Conditioning and Heating equipment clean, improve system performance and efficiency, and help prolong the life of your HVAC equipment.
How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filters?
Depends on a couple of factors:
- Filter type
- Pet count in the home
- People count in the home
- General lifestyle
Generally speaking, one-inch filters should typically be changed monthly, two-inch filters should be changed every 2-3 months, and 4-inch filters can last around 3-6 months. Bottom line is filters of any size should be checked monthly to determine how dirty they are. If there is any question it is always best to change them and keep clean filters in the system.
What Is The Difference Between Air Filter Ranks?
HVAC air filters have what is called a MERV rating. The MERV goes from 0 to 20, with 20 providing the highest filtration. A good MERV rating for most homes is 8. Along with the increase in cost, as the MERV goes up, you need to be careful monitor how your system performs with higher ratings. Often higher MERV rated filters can restrict the air too much, especially if they are not changed frequently. If a person desires higher MERV rated filters due to allergy or asthma issues, they could consider having an electronic air cleaner or other Indoor Air Quality equipment installed in their system.
MERV RATING CHART
What Are Things To Consider When Replacing HVAC Filters?
Determine Filter Type Needed. Look up your system requirements online or in the user manual.
Find All Of The Filters. Do you have an air filter located at the indoor HVAC equipment, which could be in the attic or in a closet? Are your filters located at the return air grills inside the home? Often there are several of these air filter and each location could require a different size air filter.
Install It Correctly. Airflow direction is another thing to consider. All filters have an arrow indicating which way they should be installed. It is important that you keep a running log with timeframe of when you install your air filter/s.
Date The Filter. We would recommend that you mark all filters with the date you installed them on the filter itself and set up some sort of reminder program on your smartphone or computer.