How a Dirty Air Filter Can Ruin Your Day

dirty air filter

Your heating and cooling systems work hard to keep you comfortable year round, and regular air filter changes are essential for maintaining your system’s efficiency, protecting essential components against dust and removing harmful particles from your home’s air.

Your air filter serves two main purposes: It prevents dust from entering your HVAC system and it cleans your home’s air. A dirty filter does neither. In fact, a dirty filter restricts the airflow to your system, which often results in overheating and related damage that can require costly repairs or a new system altogether.

How to Choose an Air Filter

Choosing an air filter is a matter of understanding the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, which is the standard measure of the effectiveness of an air filter. The MERV scale ranges from 1 to 20, but a residential HVAC system won’t typically accommodate filters rated 13 and above without considerable modifications.

Filters with a MERV 1-4 provide minimal protection for your system and do little to improve indoor air quality. MERV 5-8 filters are adequate for most air quality needs and will effectively protect your HVAC system against dust buildup. MERV 9-12 filters are best for those who suffer from respiratory conditions, as they trap a large number of tiny particles, including some bacteria.

When and How to Replace the Filter

Experts across the board recommend checking your filter every month and replacing it when you can’t see the filter through the dust—typically every one to three months.

In most systems, the filter is housed in the blower compartment, which sits between the return air duct and the main body of the unit. The old filter slides out easily, and the new one goes in with the arrows printed on the frame pointing toward the body of the system, in the direction of the airflow.

To learn more about replacing your air filter, please feel free to contact us at All American Heating & Cooling.

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