Peachtree City’s warm, humid climate presents no shortage of pollen, mold spores, and other air contaminants. The right HVAC air filter can do a lot to control those contaminants, and the more you know about filter ratings, the more easily you can find a filter that meets your needs.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)
This number tells you how effectively an HVAC air filter traps particles of certain sizes. The higher a filter’s MERV number, the more efficient the filter. Filters with MERVs of 1–4 are considered low-efficiency filters. These keep debris out of your system, but don’t clean your air.
MERV 5–8 filters trap most of the pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and other small particles you could breathe in. These are sufficient for most households. If you have allergies or asthma, however, opt for a filter with a MERV of 9–12. As an added benefit, these higher-efficiency filters also last longer.
Higher-efficiency filters are often dense enough to impair airflow and potentially damage the fan motor in some HVAC systems. Before you buy one, have a technician check that your system can handle one.
High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA)
This question mainly depends on climate and geography. The farther north you live, the more months in a year your forced-air heating system will need to operate. In most of the South, however, air conditioning runs longer and more intensely than heating systems do in the winter. The requirement to check and change an air filter is directly related to usage. If the cooling or heating system is running constantly, the filter needs to be checked more frequently. If it’s seasonally mild outside, your HVAC system won’t operate as much, and as a result the filter shouldn’t need to be changed as frequently.
Here in the Atlanta area, it does get cold in the winter, and folks still heat their homes for a few months, though not nearly as much as northern states. So it’s a good idea to get into a routine during the heating season of checking the air filter every month or two. When summer hits, and the A/C begins working overtime to cool and dry indoor air, make sure filter checks happen no less than once a month.
The air filters in your home HVAC system are an important component of indoor air quality. They help clean your indoor air by removing particles such as dust, dirt, pollen, hair, and fibers from the air moving through your HVAC system. Air filters should be checked monthly and changed when they get dirty. Here are a few suggestions you can use to help you remember to change your air filters.
Install a filter change indicator — These devices react to pressure differences in the airflow of your HVAC system. As air filters get dirty, the pressure will decrease and move a needle on the indicator. When the needle reaches the “red zone” on the indicator, it’s time to change the filters. Make filter changes part of your routine — Most people have a monthly routine involving activities that are repeated every month. Include air filter checks and changes as part of that routine. For example, use paying your rent or electric bill as a reminder to check your HVAC system air filters. Set a monthly alarm — If you have a smartphone, tablet, or other type of smart device or computer, set a monthly alarm on the device that will …
The simplest and least expensive thing you can do to promote energy efficiency in your home this winter is to check the furnace filter regularly, and change or clean it when it looks dirty. A clean air filter will also be more likely than a dirty one to protect your heating system from breakdowns and will help boost indoor air quality.
How Does the Filter Work?
A standard flat-panel air filter fits into a slot, usually located where the ductwork connects with the furnace. Though it’s called a furnace filter, in many homes it also filters air during cooling (in frequent circumstances where the furnace blower also works with the A/C). Before the air is drawn into the furnace, it passes through the filter, which sifts out particles of dust and other airborne debris.
What Does This Accomplish?
When air passes cleanly into the furnace or A/C, dirt and dust particles won’t settle onto sensitive HVAC components, which reduces efficiency and performance, and forces the machinery to work harder than intended. The filter – provided it’s not a low-efficiency model – will also keep various airborne particulates from continuing to circulate in your indoor air. This is a benefit especially …
Don’t make the mistake of confusing two key indoor air quality concepts – air filtration and air cleaning. While filtering indoor air is a relatively simple process that may involve anything from basic filtering to high-efficiency air filtration, air cleaning or purifying usually employs more sophisticated technology to comprehensively scrub indoor air of allergens, bacteria, and other contaminants.
How Does Each One Work?
Air filtration. Think of that flat-panel fiberglass filter that fits into a slot near where your home’s forced-air heating and cooling system’s ductwork connects with the furnace or air handler. Before air is pulled into the equipment, the filter removes solid particulates, which then collect on the filter. (You’ll want to regularly inspect and change or clean the filter). The main job of a standard air filter is to remove relatively large dust particles from the air so they don’t end up settling on sensitive furnace or air handler components. This allows your heating or cooling system to operate more efficiently and reduces the chance of breakdowns. Air filters do come in higher-efficiency models that also help improve indoor air quality by removing ever smaller particles from the air. However, the denser filtration media in a high-efficiency …