Skipping Furnace Air Filter Replacement May Have Serious Consequences
As winter approaches the Mid-Atlantic area, homeowners are getting out their fall to-do lists to prepare for colder weather. One important item that should be included on every fall maintenance list is stocking up on furnace air filters. Air filter replacement is one of the most important tasks a homeowner can perform, and here’s why:
- A clean air filter prevents dust from building up inside your system and causing the premature failure of essential components.
- A dirty air filter restricts airflow to your system, making it work harder to keep you comfortable, and may result in serious damage to your system.
- A clean air filter is essential for improving your indoor air quality by trapping particles such as mold spores, bacteria and viruses.
- A dirty air filter increases your energy bills and carbon footprint by making your motor and fan work overtime to compensate for poor airflow.
Choosing an Air Filter
Air filters are rated on the Minimum Efficiency Report Value, or MERV, scale, which ranges from 1 to 20. Better filters have higher MERV ratings, although most residential systems won’t accommodate a filter rated above MERV 12. Choose a filter rated at least a 5 on the scale, as those rated between 1 and 4 are flat fiberglass filters that trap only a small percentage of the largest particles. Check the specifications of your system before choosing a filter.
It’s essential to balance cleaning qualities with optimum air flow when choosing a filter.
Changing the Filter
You should check your air filter every month. When it’s dirty, replace it with a good-quality, clean filter. Or some systems accommodate reusable filters that can be cleaned. Your air filter is most likely located in the air handler of your system. The old one should slide out easily, and the new one should be inserted with the arrows on the frame pointing in the direction of the airflow.
For more expert advice about air filter replacement, please contact us at Sobieski Services, Inc. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC and plumbing systems.)
Image Credit: Adrian S Jones