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How, When and Why to Change Your HVAC Air FilterThe climate in the Delaware area can be extreme, and the more you can do to keep your furnace and air conditioner operating efficiently, the more money you will save on utilities. One of the most important things you can do is to check your HVAC air filter each month and replace it when the filter material is no longer visible.

A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of system breakdowns and loss of efficiency. 

  • It allows dust to enter your system and settle on essential components, which can result in their premature failure.  

  • It restricts the flow of air to your system, which can cause it to overheat, resulting in expensive damage.

  • It traps fewer contaminants in your home's air and won't do much to improve your indoor air quality.

The minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, scale, rates a filter on its ability to trap more, smaller particles in your home's air. While the MERV scale ranges from one to 20, residential systems won't accommodate a filter above MERV 12 without considerable modifications. 

MERV 1 to 4 filters won't trap particles smaller than 10 microns and serve mainly to minimally protect your system against dust. 

MERV 5 to 8 filters trap particles 3 microns and up. These are adequate for most household air quality needs.

MERV 9 to 12 filters trap particles 1 micron and up, and can help alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms.

When choosing an HVAC filter, it's critical to balance system airflow with air cleaning capabilities. Check the specifications of your system before upgrading your air filter.

To replace your filter, locate it in the blower compartment between the air return and the unit. Remove the old filter and slide in the new one with the arrows pointing toward the main unit, in the direction of the airflow.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems). Please contact us today at Sobieski Services with questions about choosing and using air filters.

Photo Credit: FeatheredTar via Compfight cc 

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