Basic air filter maintenance can prevent more damage to other mechanical parts of your HVAC system. The air filter protects your motors, fans and coils and helps them to run at their optimum. Depending on your household’s makeup, you may need to change or clean your filters more or less frequently. If a member or members of your household suffer from allergies or asthma or other breathing impairment, you may need to replace or clean filters more often. The standard time between new filters or cleanings should be every three months for 1-3″ thick filters and every four months for 4-5″ filters.
You should change your filter more often if you have allergy or asthma sufferers and/or pets in your household. The function of an air filter is to trap contaminants and other particles before they can be pushed into the air your family breathes. It’s important that air can flow freely through your filter. That is why the air filter needs to be cleaned regularly or replaced. If the air cannot flow freely, other mechanical parts will be compromised causing even more damage and repair costs. Another factor that affects how often you replace your air filters is the type of filter you are using.
Air filters are made from a large variety of components and have differing affects on the particles being captured. Electrostatic air filters use static to block larger particles but miss some smaller air borne things. Fiberglass panel filters trap larger particles, but build-up is common and these filters must be replaced frequently to prevent mechanical break downs. The best filters are the Media Air Filters because of their multiple layers. These filters are often used by HVAC professionals to replace dirty filters and they are not readily available to the public. The best filters available to the homeowner are the pleated air filter and the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) media filter. Pleated filters with a MERV rating of 10 or higher allow air to flow through but stop particles and contaminants because of the added layer offered by the pleating. HEPA filters stop dust mites, dander, mold spores, allergens, pollen and particles.
No matter what type of filter you prefer, it is imperative that air flow freely through the filter. Air filter maintenance is mandatory. Replace the filter as needed or clean it when it begins to become clogged. This way your household members can breathe easily and your HVAC system will run smoothly.
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