Changing the Air Filter Is Easy, Right? Yes, but There’s More to Know

The air filter in your HVAC system is the only thing standing between a wide assortment of airborne contaminants and your family’s breathing air. Indoor air pollution is composed of not only the common dust particles you can see, but invisible microorganisms like mold spores and bacteria, as well as pet dander, lint and even chemical fumes. A clean system air filter safeguards the entire volume of air in your home  as it circulates through the ductwork multiple times a day. However, a dirty filter doesn’t remove pollutants efficiently and also obstructs system airflow—a major cause of shortfalls in HVAC performance and efficiency.

During the cooling and heating seasons, the filter should be changed monthly. Filters can be purchased in multi-packages at competitive prices in home centers and replacement is an easy DIY procedure. If you have any doubts at the outset, ask your HVAC contractor. They’ll be happy to demonstrate how to do it yourself.

  • Make sure you purchase the correct filter for your unit.
  • Turn off the air conditioner or furnace before installation.
  • Locate the filter slot in the return duct adjacent to the system air handler.
  • Slide the old filter out. Wipe away any dust or dirt accumulation in the filter mount with a soft cloth or rag.
  • Slide the new filter in. Pay attention to directional marks or icons printed on the new filter to ensure that the correct side is facing in the direction of airflow.

Not all filters are created equal. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) system rates filter efficiency on a scale from 1 to 16. As the MERV rating climbs, filter efficiency improves. However, high-efficiency air filters also impede the flow of air through ductwork so a balance must be struck between filter efficiency and airflow. For most residential applications, filters with MERV ratings between 8 and 12 provide the best compromise between effective filtration and optimum airflow.

For advice or help in changing your air filter, contact Balance Point Heating & Air Conditioning, your local source for HVAC sales and service expertise in Fort Collins.

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