Educating our customers is something that we take pride in, and giving you some basic information to ease the burden of air filter education is part of what wakes us up to deliver the Cool each day.
Generally speaking, you need to change your air filter every 30-60 days. But specifically, it depends on a factors such as the type of air filter you are using, the overall air quality of your home and the surrounding area, and importantly - if you have pets or smoke.
Filters are important not only for the air quality in your home, but when you have the wrong type or keep a dirty one, you can cause your AC to work harder. More work from the AC means higher energy bills, so take note of the following factors before you head to the store.
SIZE Before you buy any new filters, make sure to check the size. The easiest way to determine this is to look on the old air filter currently in your system. Otherwise measure the opening by both the height and width.
RATING Air filters are rated by the efficiency in which the air passes through it. This is measured by the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), with ranges from a low of 1 to a high of 20. Flat or panel air filters with a MERV of 1-4 are the least expensive and are useful in protecting the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on the surface of the motors and coils. However, they are not very efficient in trapping smaller airborne particles, but they have satisfactory efficiency in trapping larger particles.
Filters rated with a MERV of 5-13 are reasonably efficient at removing small to large airborne particles while filters rated with a MERV of 7-13 are likely as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles. When you get to the high efficiency filters (MERV rated 14 -20), a residential system is likely to encounter airflow resistance and may not have enough fan or motor capacity to accommodate it. Therefore it is very important that you understand what MERV rating your system can handle before upgrading.
An HVAC service contract can be a very cost-effective way to make sure your system is properly maintained and to have someone on call when things go wrong. They often include yearly inspections of both your furnace and A/C, discounts on major repairs, and preferred scheduling status when you have problems during the busy season. Click here to view our service agreement.