The quality of the air you breathe each day is important to your health, which is why you should take the time to promote cleaner air in your home by regularly changing your air filter every few months.
Since forced-air heating is one of the most commonly installed systems, lots of homes across the country also have air filters requiring annual replacement. Understanding the purpose behind the filters in your heater makes it easier to recognize the value in swapping dirty ones out for clean ones.
While ventilating your home can assist in promoting clean air, regularly changing your HVAC’s air filters goes even further toward that goal. Clean filters do a better job of capturing a variety of particulates than dirty filters, making them an essential part of limiting the dust, mold, dander, and other particulates floating about in your home’s air.
Ideally, you should change your filter when it gets dirty, which requires you to check up on it at least once a month. At the very least, you should put in a new filter at the beginning of each season or four times a year.
Why Air Filters Are Important
Initially, air filters were included as a way to protect the heating equipment so that it would operate efficiently and require fewer repairs. As technological improvements were made and the correlation between good air quality and illnesses became known, the use of air filters expanded to encompass a way to promote cleaner interior air while reducing the incidence of breathing-related diseases.
Negative Effect of Not Changing Air Filters Regularly
If you overlook the importance of changing your heating system’s air filter on a regular basis, you risk a number of undesirable circumstances. These issues can include one, some, or all of the following:
- Higher cost to heat your home or business
- Unhealthy interior air quality
- Lower efficiency of your heating system
- Reduced comfort due to poor performance in your heating system
- Increase in your home’s carbon footprint
- Greater frequency in the need to arrange for repairs to your heating system
- Decrease in the expected lifespan of your heater
While replacing your HVAC system or furnace might not be on the top of your list of home improvement chores, you might find yourself faced with this task if you fail to exchange dirty air filters for clean ones.
Understanding the Ratings for Air Filters
Before you run out to replace your air filter, you might want to take a look at how they are rated. In general, most filters are rated on the MERV scale, which is designed to provide a standard for comparison along with identifying the efficiency of a particular style.
The MERV scale starts at 1, which is the lowest level of efficiency and goes up to 20, which is the highest level. Since filters rated between 17 and 20 are not used in HVAC systems designed for home use, the highest rating you will find for sale is 16. The higher the number is, the more efficient the filter is at capturing undesirable particulates from the air.
However, you need to consider the manufacturer’s recommendation for the type of air filter for your system. Buying the wrong kind could damage your heating unit. If you need help choosing a new filter, an experienced serviceman dealing with heating and cooling systems should be able to assist you.
If you care about the quality of the air within your living space, you should consider every aspect of promoting cleaner air. In addition to providing optimal ventilation created by opening windows and vents that allow a free exchange of interior and exterior air, you should replace dirty air filters on your heating and cooling system regularly. You might even want to get your HVAC system serviced once a year to make sure that it is running at optimal levels.