Air Filters | Air Conditioning Service
The majority of of the home’s HVAC system maintenance is provided by your HVAC technician. However, changing the filter in your heating and air conditioning system is one of the single most important actions that a homeowner can provide. Air filters help to keep dust out of the system, preventing damage from occurring, and helping to maintain peak performance and efficiency. Using a good filter can greatly extend the life of the system, and reduce the number of service calls for heating and air conditioning service and repair.
Your HVAC system helps to clean the air in a home. While it can’t completely clean the air as well as a dedicated air cleaning system would, it will keep the dust and particulates filtered from the air that passes through the system. When your HVAC system operates at peak performance it reduces energy costs, and increases the home’s comfort. In the following we will compare the most common air filters:
Basic fiberglass filters screen out the largest of dirt and debris that can damage the system by friction. As long as you change them every month and the degree of air quality isn’t a concern these will provide the minimal requirements.
Pleated filters are more effective than basic fiberglass filters and under normal circumstances only require changing every three months. They are capable of capturing smaller particles for a longer period of time risking damage from a clogged filter that may result in air conditioning service. This doesn’t mean they don’t have to be changed. The filter should be inspected each month and changed if required.
If you have pets, or if a family member has asthma, allergies or other respiratory problems, give serious consideration to an electrostatic filter. They will provide an upgrade in performance, as well as magnetically attracting particulates like dust and pollen. They filter out dust, smoke, bacteria, pet dander and odors. An additional option is a HEPA filter. They cost more but can last up to a year. However, homeowners should be aware that HEPA are not recommended for all HVAC systems, and can result in damage to systems lacking the ability to pull air through thicker filters such as HEPAs, and in some cases even pleated filters.
Most filters carry a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV rating), which indicates their effectiveness. Generally, the higher the rating, the more effective they are. Fiberglass filters generally have a MERV rating of 4. Pleated filters typically have a MERV rating of 6. Electrostatic filters MERV rating starts at 8 with the most effective having a rating of 12. Use the filter your system’s manufacturer recommends for the best efficiency and prevention of damage to the system that can result in additional heating and air conditioning service and repair.
It’s easy to forget a filter change, and especially pleated filters that only require changing every 3 months. Dirty filters become clogged, and can cause overheating of the furnace or air conditioning components. A clogged filter can result in heating or air conditioning service or repair.
Dust enters a system with a dirty filter, and will result in dirty coils, a clogged condensation drain and other problems that will result in heating and air conditioning service or repairs. Dust causes friction and wears components prematurely. The HVAC system in a state of starving for air, will draw air around the filter, resulting in large amounts of dust gaining entry. Set aside a day to check and/or change the filter each month.
Some systems use washable filters which require regular cleaning to prevent breakdowns and increased energy usage. Check monthly and clean as necessary.
Properly maintained your heating and air conditioning system should last you 10-15 years. A clean, properly operating HVAC system provides cleaner air within the home. With routine filter changes and maintenance you’ll get the most from your HVAC system for many years to come. The other equally important step you can take is to provide routine heating and air conditioning service by a qualified HVAC technician. The annual tune-up and inspection will ensure peak performance and reduce heating and air conditioning service and repair.
The issues a dirty filter is likely to cause include:
- Dirty air ducts — A dirty filter will allow the dust and debris to slip past the filter and on into the system, and the air that you breathe.
- Air flow reduction — HVAC systems are designed to function with a specific amount of air flow. A dirty filter can prevent the air flow the system needs, resulting in it being overworked and overheated in its struggle to obtain the air it requires. This will lead to premature wear, damage and malfunction requiring heating and air conditioning service and repair. In addition, it can cause an overheated system to catch fire.
- The cost of operation will become elevated as the system struggles for air.
- Inability to cool — As dust builds up on the cooling coils they will eventually freeze. In addition, a dirty coil can cause an increase in condensation, potentially resulting in water leakage onto the floor. A coil in need of a professional cleaning will cause the HVAC system to struggle in its efforts to cool the home.
- Elevated utility costs -. A dirty air filter will reduce efficiency, and place a strain on the unit increasing the energy bill.
Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning’s certified HVAC professionals provide experience and expertise for dependable heating and air conditioning service, installation and maintenance and repair. Contact us for questions regarding your systems air filter. We serve Katy, Plano and the surrounding areas.