Air Filters: Your Heating and Air Conditioning System's MVP

Is your heating and air conditioning system running as smoothly as it should, or do you need to call a time out to reveal what’s wrong? Like a victorious football team, every component of your system must work together to produce game-winning results, and it’s your job as the coach to make sure everything’s working as it should.

It makes sense to ensure that, first and foremost, your system’s most valuable player is well taken care of, since this component’s performance affects all other members of the system. This means you should turn your attention to the air filter, the veritable MVP of heating and cooling.

Without the air filter, your system would be inundated with dust, dirt and other airborne debris, causing it to break down sooner. Plus, indoor air quality and even system efficiency can suffer if you neglect to change the air filter. Give the MVP the attention it deserves and the entire system will perform better.

Make Sure You Use the Correct Filter

The air filter will only truly perform as your system’s MVP if you choose the correct one. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Size: First things first – find your air filter and measure its physical dimensions. Standard one-inch-thick filters fit most home heating and air conditioning systems, but it’s wise to double check what you have installed. After all, your home may require up to a four-inch-thick filter, depending on the volume of air circulating between rooms.
  • Material and style: The least expensive filters are one-inch-thick and made of fiberglass. Thicker pleated filters are more efficient because the pleats provide extra surface area for the filter to capture airborne dust and other pollutants. Find an electrostatically charged pleated filter for even better debris-trapping ability.
  • MERV rating: Just as a football coach wants the wide receiver to be a good catcher, you want your filter to be good at catching debris as it circulates through the system. A filter’s performance is reflected in its minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating. While ratings go all the way up to MERV 20, residential filters typically top out at MERV 12. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter is at catching smaller and smaller particles, down to bacteria and viruses that can make your family sick. If cleaner indoor air is a priority for you, the extra investment required to purchase a more efficient filter is worth it.

Replace the Filter on a Regular Schedule

As your furnace or central air conditioner runs, air is forced through the filter. Debris collects in the filter, leaving cleaner, healthier air to circulate around your home. Over time, the debris accumulates to the point that it can no longer perform at its peak.

Can you imagine a football coach running the team’s quarterback into the ground without giving him a break? Just as giving the MVP time to rest helps him recover his strength for the next big game, replacing the furnace filter ensures system performance remains at its peak.

As a general rule of thumb, you should check your air filter once a month and change it after no longer than three months. If you have furry pets, smoke cigarettes or live in a dusty environment, you may need to change the filter more often.

If you’re as excited about the upcoming big game as we are, do what any self-respecting coach would do and take care of your heating and air system’s MVP! For more advice about choosing and changing the air filter, or to schedule heating and cooling services, please contact Aire Serv® today.