As a homeowner, one of the most important parts of your HVAC system that you’ll want to know about is your air filter. This filter plays a crucial role in enhancing the quality of air inside your home and ensuring the overall longevity of your HVAC unit. If you’re new to learning about HVAC systems, then we’re going to share with you some top things you’ll want to know about your HVAC air filters.

1. What Does an Air Filter Do?

The air filter for your HVAC system is located in the return ducting right before the indoor air handler unit. When there is an air filter in this housing, it will work to remove unwanted airborne particles from the air. These particles include pet dander, dust, pollen, and other unhealthy airborne contaminants. The air filter essentially traps all of these airborne pollutants to keep them out of your indoor air.

2. How Often Should a Filter Be Changed?

In general, most households will find that their HVAC air filter needs to be replaced every two to three months. The longevity of each air filter is going to be affected by many factors. Some of these include the type of filter, the number of people in your home, if you have pets, and so forth.

You should plan on checking the state of your air filter at least once a month. You’ll want to pull the filter out of its housing and hold it up to a light source. If you can see through the filter, it can still trap particles. However, if you can’t see through the filter, then it’s likely reached the end of its lifespan. You’ll want to replace it with a new one as soon as possible. Leaving a dirty filter in your HVAC system will decrease its performance.

3. Finding the Model Number

There are many different HVAC air filter models available. You must replace the existing air filter with one of the same model number for your HVAC system to work correctly. You can typically find this number on the side of the existing air filter. If you can’t find a model number on the filter, you’ll want to physically measure it.

Filters are classified by a series of three numbers, such as 10x15x1. In this example, 10 is the number of inches on the shortest side of the filter. 15 is the number of inches of the longest side of the filter. Lastly, the 1 is the total depth of the air filter. By measuring the shortest and longest sides of your existing filter alongside its depth, you can easily determine what the model number is for your filter replacement.

4. Air Filter Ratings

Just as with most products, HVAC filters are given a rating of how effective they are at removing indoor air particles. These ratings range from a low of 1 up to 20 plus. The particular rating scale used for HVAC air filters is the MERV rating scale. For most typical households, getting a filter with a MERV rating between 8 and 10 is effective enough to keep your indoor air quality great. If you or another member of your family suffers from severe allergies or a respiratory problem, you may want to invest in a filter with a higher MERV rating.

5. Types of Air Filters

There are typically four main types of HVAC air filters that you can invest in. These include fiberglass, pleated, HEPA, and washable. Fiberglass filters have the lowest MERV rating and are the cheapest to purchase. Pleated filters offer more filtering capability at a slightly higher price range. Most homeowners will invest in pleated filters for their HVAC systems.

HEPA air filters offer more filtering than fiberglass or pleated filters. However, you must check with your HVAC technician to ensure that you can run a HEPA filter in your system. These filters can easily slow down the movement of air in your ducting and cause your heating or cooling system to prematurely wear out due to overstressing. Lastly, there is the washable filter. Instead of throwing it away, you simply wash the unwanted debris off of the filter and reinstall it.

Get Professional Help Today

E.P. Omega Air Conditioning LLC provides professional HVAC maintenance services for the entire El Paso, TX area. Our friendly technicians can also assist with all of your heating, cooling, ductless mini-split, heat pump, ductwork, HVAC zoning, indoor air quality, and sheet metal fabrication needs. Contact our office today to schedule your next heating maintenance or cooling maintenance service appointment with one of our highly skilled service technicians.

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