Everything You Wanted to Know About HVAC Filters But Were Afraid to Ask

Home air conditioning repair

Every homeowner in the United States wants their heating and air conditioning systems to cost less to run Everyone wants to save money on their utility bills. If people take some common sense approaches to dealing with their heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, they can reap the rewards of lower energy costs. If homeowners with attics do a decent job ventilating them, say with attic fans, they can see their energy bills decline by between 10 and 12%. Making sure the entire system is properly installed can prevent their utility bills from increasing. When these systems are installed improperly, the energy costs can go up by as much as 30%. Another area that is often overlooked but is an easy way to keep things running well is paying attention to the HVAC air filters.

First you need to start with the right HVAC air filters for your system. There is a rating system for HVAC air filters. It is called the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) that goes from one to 20. It rates the basic efficiency of the air filters. When you are out buying your air HVAC air filters, you can pick one that meets your needs. The following information can help you make that decision.

  • MERV 1-4: This is the lowest level filter. These are cheap HVAC air filters that will prevent dust from settling on any equipment but will do little, if anything, to help with the quality of your air.
  • MERV 5-8: This is the range that is used in most peopleandrsquo;s homes. These excel at removing smaller particles from the air such as dirt, dust and allergens.
  • MERV 9-12: This range is also used in many homes. For people who have more than one pet, suffer from severe allergies, this will do a better job of getting the dust, dirt and allergens out of the air, making the home a lot more comfortable. If you choose to go with this kind of filter for your home, you may want to talk to one of the HVAC contractors in your area about making some adjustments in your system..
  • MERV 13-16: This is a much more serious filter efficiency range. It is used most often in hospital settings, smoking areas and some commercial buildings. This is beyond what you should need in your home, unless there are really special circumstances.
  • MERV 17-20: This is where the system actually goes into vacuum cleaner territory. HVAC filters in this range are referred to as a High Efficiency Particulate Absorption (HEPA) filter.

Find out what your HVAC system needs to function properly

Most HVAC contractors will tell you that you if you have a MERV of anywhere between one and eight, you will need to replace it every one to three months. Because this is a pretty large range, the following guidelines have been developed:

  • Homes that are not occupied most of the year or are lived in by one person who has neither allergies nor pets should be changed every three to six months.
  • Homes in suburbia that have no pets should change their HVAC filters every three months.
  • People in homes with one cat or dog should change their HVAC filters every two months.
  • If there are two or more cats or dogs in a home, or if the people in the home have very bad allergies or asthma, the HVAC filter at about 30 days to 45 days.

There may be other factors that influence how often HVAC filters need to be changed. These are not hard and fast rules by any means but are meant to serve as basic guidelines. If you live in an area that has a lot of pollen, you may need to change the filters more often. The same goes if you live in a place with a lot of construction or smog. This is all very dependent on what is happening both in your home and around your home. This is why most experts recommend checking the system and the filters once a month. It is much cheaper to replace a bad filter than to fix the entire system. Neglecting the filters can cause a lot of problems with the HVAC system.

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