Changing the air filters in your HVAC system is a must if you want clean air to circulate throughout your home. Your HVAC unit will work harder and be more prone to malfunctions if it does not have a clean air filter. Changing your air filter is a quick and painless DIY project (one of the few!) that only takes minutes but is incredibly important.
Why Is It Necessary to Change Your Filter?
Air filters catch hair, dust, and other irritants, allowing your air conditioning system to return fresh, clean air to your home. The filter eventually collects so much dust and particles that air cannot effectively filter or go to the HVAC unit.
A clogged filter impacts your HVAC in three ways that have a direct impact on you:
- Higher energy bills
- More strain on your air conditioner
- Lower indoor air quality
When an HVAC filter becomes clogged, your HVAC needs to work harder to move air through the filter in order to cool or heat your house. This causes it to run for extended periods of time, increasing the amount of energy used by your home. This constant strain on the unit can cause it to break, resulting in costly repairs or replacements. And, since your filter is full, that means it isn’t trapping new contaminants, which can exacerbate allergies and respiratory issues.
How to Replace an Air Filter
Believe it or not, one of the hardest parts of replacing an air filter is simply remembering to do it on a regular basis! While some 1-inch filters may be labeled as “lasts up to 3 months,” it is easier to make it a regular monthly chore. As noted above, a clogged filter not only isn’t as effective but creates unnecessary wear and tear on your air conditioner, which can lead to large repair bills. For 4-inch filters, aim for every 3 months.
Another common impediment to replacing filters is not having clean filters on hand when it’s time to replace them. An easy solution for this is to buy bulk packs online, such as from Amazon, and have them delivered right to your door. Which brings up the question of – “what type of air filter to buy?”
Walk down the aisle of a big box hardware store and you’ll see a variety of air filter sizes, with each size having a variety of options based on Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV). The higher the MERV value, the smaller the particles that can be trapped. Your unit will take a particular size and you can find that by just looking at your old filter, so that is easy. The options offered for each size may seem confusing but there is a simple answer.
Looking at the packages, the manufacturers would lead you to believe that you should buy the highest MERV rating you can afford but that could be a costly mistake. And, we are not talking about just the money you spend on the filter. Using too high a rating causes your AC to work harder, just like a clogged filter. Unless a unit is specifically designed to take a high MERV-rated filter, using one can shorten its life. In other words, more expensive doesn’t mean better and most systems aren’t designed to use those filters.
For most situations, a MERV 8 filter is the ideal choice. These filters are affordable (which makes it easy to change them on the schedule noted above) and they trap pollen, dust, dust mites, and mold spores.
If you need more convincing that MERV 8 is the way to go, or have questions, call us at (513) 378-3780 and ask for Tony Valentino.
With a set schedule and filters on hand, replacing the filter is as simple as turning your AC off, removing the old filter, putting the new filter in with the arrow pointing in the direction of the airflow, and replacing the cover. After turning your AC back on, check to make sure everything looks and sounds right.
We have been serving the Harrison, OH and Ross, OH communities for more than 20 years. We will treat you and your home with respect and our NATE-certified technicians have the experience to handle all of your AC repair needs.