A centrally air-conditioned house is a modern miracle. Who would have thought that modern man would be able to regulate temperature down to the last Celsius? But not only does the new and contemporary Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning unit regulate humidity and temperature, but it also removes impurities.
The HVAC filter is an essential part of central air conditioning and heating. Therefore, it requires maintenance to work efficiently and correctly.
What does an Air Filter do?
The filter removes impurities from the internal atmosphere. It prevents bacteria and allergens from entering your house. People spend the majority of their time indoors, and an unhealthy indoor atmosphere can be potentially dangerous. Because of better insulated and tightly sealed homes, polluted indoor air can be five times as detrimental to health as outdoor air.
Therefore, homeowners must be aware of the quality and maintenance of their air filters. But many factors go into the care of your HVAC. Read through our handy guide on the subject to find out what works for you.
There are many shapes and sizes of air filters. So, not every filter works for every situation.
The Right Size and Thickness:
The first thing to do when considering your air filter is to think about the size. The filter must be a tight fit since any gaps can let polluted air into your home. So, it is wise to measure the HVAC before buying the filter. Furthermore, thicker air filters will block more allergies than others. Therefore, 16x25x2 HVAC filters work better than 16x25x1 filters. Most homes can only accommodate filters that are 1 to 2 inches thick. Therefore, thicker filters might not work for your system. Look for the system requirements or talk to a technician about which filter works best for you.
The right type of filter:
There are many filters available in the market. Some are affordable, and some are a little pricey. Newer filters work better than older ones, but some filters can last longer than others. There are four main types of residential filters for HVACs:
Disposable fiberglass: A flat panel filter is the most common and affordable filter. It is usually of fiberglass and disposable. However, it is not the best quality option out there because it only collects bigger particles. Most disposable fiberglass particles cost only about one or two dollars.
Disposable pleated: Pleated panels are better than flat ones since they block most particles. The cotton or plastic screens remove harmful particles from the atmosphere. Furthermore, the pleats increase the surface area for the filtration process. Pleated panels cost a lit bit more than flat ones and have to be periodically changed.
These panels get charged electrostatically to trap all sorts of particles. They are also washable and can get re-used. Most electrostatic panels cost about $15 to $20. Since they are long-lasting, you must change them once every eight years. Just clean your panel with a hose to recycle it.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air: These are heavy-duty filters that remove 99.97% of air particles. HEPA filters are useful in commercial settings that require a controlled atmosphere. So, they are common in hospitals and laboratories. But they can also be helpful in homes of people with breathing problems.
What about Ratings?
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers has developed a rating system to list the most efficient systems. The MERV is a scale to rate the ability of each filter to remove harmful pollutants. Filters with higher ratings are best, whereas those with the lowest ratings are the weakest. Experts suggest that homeowners should buy a filter with a MERV rating of 6 or more for a safe environment.
There are other scales like the Clean Air Delivery Rate and 3M’s Microparticle Performance Rating; the CADR gets recognized by the EPA and the Federal Trade Commission. Most domestic filters usually have a rating of 12 CADR to 240 CADR.
However, don’t focus too much on higher MERV and CADR numbers. Not all HVAC systems can bear overly restrictive filters. Overly restrictive airflows will make HVACs work more, and overworking can lead to hardware damage. Therefore, always consider the strength of your HVAC system before getting a filter.
How Can I Maintain My Filter?
Remove the filters by sliding or swapping them out. If your filter is washable, wash it with a hose, dry it, and put it back. Never use wet filters since a damp filter can spread moisture inside the house. Filters can also get moldy if the filter remains wet for too long.
Experts suggest that homeowners change filters every season to clear debris and residue. Wash reusable filters every three months. However, people who live near construction sites or have remodeled their houses might need to change the filter more often.
Write the date when you changed your filter on the spine to remember the next time you need to change it. Or you can get a smart filter to do the work for you. Smart filters have sensors to regulate airflow. These filters can be programmed to alert owners when air quality is highly compromised.
There are many HVAC filter choices in the market. However, not every option works for every house. The best filter for your family will depend on your needs and requirements. Keep these factors in mind before getting your next filter.