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A Study Guide on HVAC Air Filters

A homeowner replacing their central air conditioner's filter

Things All Homeowners Should Know About Air Filters

One of the most important aspects of a central air conditioning system is the air filter. This rectangular detail helps your unit “breathe” easily, blocking out dust, pet dander, and other types of indoor pollutants that can go airborne and bog down your system (as well as your indoor air quality).

Before dismissing the importance of your central cooling system’s air filter again, here are some things that all homeowners should know and take into kind consideration.

Why Do We Need to Replace Air Filters?

Typically, it’s important to change your central cooling system’s air filter regularly. While it may seem like a gimmick, it’s far from it; here’s what replacing this important component can do for you:

Help Improve Indoor Air Quality

As mentioned earlier, an air filter helps your unit “breathe” easily and can efficiently help trap dust, pollen, and other airborne pollutants from coming in contact with your air conditioner’s air ducts. However, failure to replace your filter every 30 to 60 days can lead to an uptick of indoor allergens, as well as increase indoor allergy symptoms — such as coughing, sneezing, dry throat, and more.

Can Enhance Performance

Truthfully, a central air conditioning system cannot perform at a top-tier level unless it has a clean air filter installed. Unfortunately, dismissing the importance of this vital component can lead to neglect and fewer replacements (or none at all).

Think about it like this: if there are no blockages within the filter, the clean slate will help your air conditioning system take deeper “breaths” and won’t overexert itself to produce cool air, which should be a simple task, to begin with. Additionally, when your air conditioning system works much more efficiently, you won’t see startling energy bill statements.

Now since we’ve covered the basics, here’s how you can tell your unit’s air filter needs to be replaced.

What Signs Indicate My Air Conditioner’s Filter Needs to Be Replaced?

Unfortunately, there are many downsides to not replacing your central air conditioner’s filter promptly — but you might not always see those negative effects until it’s too late. To help stay ahead of the curve, here are some of the most common signs that indicate you need to make the swap as soon as possible:

Airflow Reduction

When your central air conditioner’s filter requires a replacement, you may begin to notice a decrease in its once-healthy airflow. For instance, you may notice that after a few hours, certain rooms in your home are much cooler than others; this is because the dirty filter is making it much more difficult for your central cooling system to “breathe.”

Filthy Air Vents

With continued use, you may begin to notice that the air vents in your home will be dirtier during the summer months than they are during the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, when your filter is long overdue for a change, the accumulation of airborne filth will be twice as noticeable — as well as a very present uptick in indoor allergies.

Since you’re aware of some of the common signs of when it’s time to replace your home’s air filter, here’s what you need to take into consideration in terms of what filter replacement will be the right fit for your system:

What is a MERV Rating, and Which One Should I Look For?

Before purchasing any filter you come across for your home’s air conditioning system, it’s important to select the correct MERV rating. If you haven’t met our “pal” MERV, today’s the day you two will become acquainted!

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Home air filters have a MERV rating between 5 and 13 — but many older units (those installed nearly ten years ago or more) typically rely on a MERV rating of 5.

MERV Ratings Versus Indoor Air Quality

Although many households rely on the help of a MERV rating between 5 and 13, here’s a helpful breakdown of the various ratings and how effective they are when improving your home’s indoor air quality:

  • MERV 1-4: Less than 20 percent of all particles.

  • MERV 5: 20 to 34 percent of particles filtered.

  • MERV 6-8: 35 to 85 percent of particles filtered.

  • MERV 7-13: 85 to 90 percent of particles filtered.

Of course, if you’re still not set on what would be the best MERV rating for your home, help is always a click away!

Professional HVAC Services in Ventura County

The HVAC professionals at West Coast Air Conditioning are here for all your home’s cooling and heating needs! When you are ready to bring in the experts, call us at (805) 954-9195 — we’re always ready to help!