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The Quick and Dirty Guide to Air Filters | HVAC Tips

Efficient ventilation is paramount to keeping your house
warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
While part of efficient airflow is ducting design, air conditioner size,
and proper sealing, the obstacles between your air conditioner and the room all factor in to both cooling and heating.
The air filter can be a help or a hindrance to quality environmental
controls. Proper maintenance of your air
filter will improve air quality, energy efficiency, and the ability of your system to maintain your environment.


When it comes to HVAC systems, the filter is the primary
defense against airborne contaminants. Air
filters prevent dust, mold, and pollen from entering the home in the first
place. Additionally, they remove any
contaminants that are brought into the home by you, friends, and even
pets. A clean air filter reduces the
impact of dust and allergens, keeping the home clean and your breathing easier.

Everything that your filter removes from the air sticks to
the filter itself. Over time, all of
these contaminants block airflow through the filter and reduce its quality of
filtration. The reduced airflow means
that your HVAC system has to overwork to compensate for the difference in flow
rate and pressure. Replacing your filter
regularly is important. The best idea is
to set a reminder and check your filter every 30 days to make sure it isn’t too
dirty. Most filters need to be changed
every 1-3 months, based on how much time the HVAC system has been running.

PRO TIP: Whenever you replace an air filter, use a
permanent marker to write down the current date on the frame of the
filter. That way you’ll know how long
the filter has been in place since the last time you inspected it.

Filter Efficiency

Every filter has what’s known as the Minimum Efficiency
Reporting Value (MERV), a rating system that indicates a filter’s ability to
trap particles and contaminants. The
higher the rating, the more efficiently the filter does its job. This comes with a small drawback however, the
higher the MERV rating the harder it is for air to pass through the filter. The reduced air flow has the same effect on
your HVAC system as it would if a dirty filter were causing it, the unit has to
work harder and cooling costs increase while your actual environment becomes
warmer dirtier. If you want to use a
higher MERV rating for your filters you need to check your unit to ensure it
won’t overburden it. If you need a
stronger HVAC unit, be sure to get it professionally installed, as amateur
installations can be inefficient or dangerous if installed incorrectly.

Filters are extremely simple to
replace. Most of them are easily
accessible and you can use the previous filter as a guide to which filter (size,
type, and MERV rating) you need to replace it with. Just be sure to install the filter in the
correct position, as they are unidirectional.
The filter should be installed with the arrows (printed on the frame)
pointing towards the unit. Once
installed, you’ll have clean and cool air flowing.

Universal Home Experts is a licensed and insured HVAC,
Plumbing, and Electrical Service Company that has been serving the entire
Houston area since 1992.

Along with our award winning
residential service and repair, we provideSame Day Service, Up-Front Pricing, and100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.

If you have any questions about
how to save water inside and outside of the home, give us a call at (713) 364-0226. We’d be glad to answer all of your