Air Filtration Explained

Air Filtration Explained

Filters are an integral part of your HVAC system. They are the number one reason for HVAC failure. There are a variety of different filters on the market making it easy to get confused. The experts at GV’S Heating and Cooling are here to help you understand how filters work, and how to select the right filter for your home or office system.

The Importance of Filters

As you know, one of the main functions of air filters is that they prepare air for circulation by removing dust and other toxins as air flows through the vents. It is important to clean and change your filters regularly in order to maintain a healthy, functioning furnace or cooling system. Over time, the filter fills up with particles and dirt, making it more difficult for air to pass through the system. This then affects how the overall system runs. A dirty filter requires your system to utilize more energy to push the air through the filtration system. In addition, not maintaining your filters can affect the lifespan of your system, drive your energy bills up, and much more.

Air Filters Affect Indoor Air Quality

Your filtration system goes beyond just protecting you from dust and dirt. Air filters have the capacity to improve your air quality by removing both large and micro-sized particles including removing the following from your air:

  • Fumes
  • Paint vapors
  • Pesticides
  • Hair
  • Lint
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Spores
  • Viruses
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Tobacco, wood, food, and other scent

Types of Filters

There are two different types of filters, disposable and reusable. Disposable filters are generally replaced every couple of months and the user is responsible for buying replacements. With washable filters, we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly wash and dry and how often to do so.

When shopping for filters, it is important to understand the method by which their quality is measured. In the industry, the rating system is measured by MERV. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The rating scale ranges from 1 to 20; the higher the score, the more efficient the filter at capturing dust and particles on a micro-level. We recommend purchasing filters that have a rating of 8 or higher to ensure that your space is receiving top-notch air quality.

Common Disposable Filter Options:

  • HEPA filters: Stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting filter. HEPA filters come with one of the highest MERV ratings and are able to trap both large and micro-sized particles ensuring the best air quality. However, HEPA filters are more expensive and have a pre-filter and filter that both need to be changed between two to three times per year.
  • Pleated media filters: Pleated filters are a common type of filter and consist of a disposable poly-cotton blend material. If you decide to go with a pleated filter, we recommend one with a tight weave as it will improve the filtration of the product.
  • Fiberglass filters: These are the most common of all filter options given their affordability. However, many of these types of filters do not surpass a rating of 6 making it obvious, you get what you pay for.
  • Polyester filters: Are made of fiberglass or non-woven polyester material. These filters need to be changed on a monthly basis and tend to be on the lower end of the MERV scale.
  • Electrostatic filters: Electrostatic filters consist of self-charging cotton or paper fibers that hold an average MERC rating of 8. They are in the middle of the spectrum, offering moderate effectiveness when removing large and microparticles.

How Often Should I Change My Filter?

As previously mentioned, it is important to stay up to date when changing out your dirty, used filters. We recommend reading the instructions provided when purchasing your filters regarding how frequently they should be changed. As a general rule of thumb, many filters need to be changed on a monthly basis, especially when your heating or cooling system is in use. The frequency with which you need to change them will, of course, be based on the quality of the filter purchased, as well as your living environment. For example, if you own pets or are in an area that is more prone to dust and dirt, then you may need to get your filters cleaned more frequently. Reach out to one of our specialists today to receive a professional opinion.

How Do I Select the Correct Size?

Each heating and cooling system has a specific size of filtration that coincides with it. When replacing filters, it is important that you purchase the designated size meant for your furnace or ac unit. Most systems and filters should have the item size listed on its side or box. If not, we recommend researching the model number prior to making a purchase as trying to force a filter to fit can damage your heating or cooling system.

Changing Your Air Filter

When changing out your air filters, you can do it yourself or give us a call. Our technicians are experts when it comes to replacing your filters with a quality product. We recommend having your filters changed by an expert as most units are complex systems. However, some tips if you do decide to change your own filters:

  • Make sure your unit is turned completely off prior to removing your used filter
  • Make sure you take note of how the prior filter was fitted as there is nothing worse than inputting your new filter in the wrong way.
  • If you have reusable filters, make sure they are completely dry after cleaning them before reinstalling, otherwise, it can lead to several issues.

If you have any additional questions on selecting the correct filter for your system, do not hesitate to reach out to GV’S Heating and Cooling today! From selecting the right furnace to providing you with quality filters, your satisfaction is guaranteed.