Furnace Maintenance

What Your Filter MERV Rating Means

MERV RATINGS: WHAT DO THEY MEAN?filters

Generally speaking, most people take their HVAC system for granted. It is just one more thing to think about in the ever-stressful world of home ownership. Even people who pay attention and provide preventative maintenance on a regular basis could be doing more harm than good if not careful. Depending on what type of HVAC system you have, the filter may need to be replaced monthly, or every few months. One key item to note when purchasing filters is the MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The MERV rating tells how effectively the filter takes the dirt, dust, allergens, and other things out of the air as it passes through the HVAC system.

When replacing a filter in your home, taking notice of the MERV rating is important to make sure the correct amount of air flow is coming through the filter. Without enough airflow, the HVAC system can overheat and cause electrical or mechanical breakdowns and burnouts later on down the road.

To avoid mechanical failure and an expensive service call down the line, be sure to check your HVAC system manual for the correct filter size and MERV rating. This will give you the correct amount of airflow and make your system run as optimally as possible. Changing the filters on a regular basis is also important. Having proper air flow is the most important part of maintaining your HVAC system. If a filter is clogged it can have the same impact as having a filter that is too thick for your system.Filter Media

Filters with a higher MERV rating are typically thicker and catch more particles. The caveat to that is they also require more force to push air through them. This is the reason filters have to be correctly sized for your specific HVAC system. Without proper air flow, the HVAC unit will overheat over time. This is what causes the costly repairs in the future.

If you are aware of which filter you need, and how often you should replace it, you are ahead of most people. Just make sure you are diligent with your preventative maintenance and that will help prevent service calls.

The MERV ratings on filters range from 1-20 and it will say on the side of the filter what the rating is.

MERV RATING: 1-4

These are the lowest rated filters. They are primarily for residential use. They catch the bigger things floating through your HVAC system. These items include; dust, pollen, carpet fibers, pet hair, and other things of that nature.

MERV RATING: 5-8

The next step up in MERV ratings helps remove some of the smaller irritants that are cycled through your heating and cooling system. As the MERV rating increases, the smaller the particle the filters will catch.

MERV RATING: 9-12

These filters are typically used in businesses. They are capable of catching much finer particles than the previous filters. They can even catch some of the larger bacterial cells, emissions, and some fine dust particles.

MERV RATING: 13-16

High-end filters like these are used in hospitals, or in situations where high amounts of allergens are present. These collect a very high amount of bacteria, smoke, sickness germs released from the body, and numerous other things.

MERV RATING: 17-20

This is the top-of-the-line for filters. In residential uses, and most commercial uses, it provides too much filtration and not enough air flow. These filters are used for quarantined locations and other highly sensitive areas. They are capable of catching viruses, all smoke particles, and everything else that runs through the HVAC system.

Knowing what each of these different types of filters is used for is important for being an informed homeowner. In the case of filters, the bigger MERV rating isn’t always better. If you are trying to do any type of preventative maintenance you want to make sure the correct part is put in. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at (866) 215-3831 or visit us at www.hvacpartsshop.com and we can help talk you through any issues you are having.site-logo

Why is HVAC Preventative Maintenance Important?

Save money for the important thingsWhole-home heating and cooling systems are expensive, there’s no other way to put it. Replacing a whole-home comfort system, especially with a quality system that will last 10+ years, can cost thousands of dollars. Money like that, to use a popular saying, “doesn’t grow on trees.” An unexpected failure in either your heating or cooling system will dip into your emergency fund, and make you allocate that money from something you really want to spend your money on, also known as in our business as a “luxury” item (think a trip, new car, boat, bike, etc.). Here at HVAC Parts Shop we don’t want you to have to go through this, so that’s why we stress to our customers preventative maintenance. Simple, preventative maintenance can help lengthen the life of your air conditioner and furnace, and put off those costs, allowing you to spend your money on what you really want.

First and foremost, changing the filters for the system is a priority.  If a filter is clogged up, the air is unable to get through. If the air can’t get through the filter, components of the system begin to overheat. When they overheat, that’s when the system can start to shut down, or even break down, leading to costly repairs or a full out necessary replacement. Preventative maintenance, like regular filter changes, can lengthen the life of the unit and help it run more efficiently, saving you money in both the long and short term. Depending on the size of your filter, the time between replacements can vary.

Generally, we suggest a one-inch filter gets replaced every month, and some of the thicker ones can last up to three-four months. However, regular checks are recommended to make sure it is not too clogged up and the unit is still running efficiently. Click here to view our selection of filters if yours needs to be replaced.Run Capacitor

Another important item to change on a regular basis is your capacitor. The capacitor regulates the electrical current running through the equipment. We recommend replacing them every 4-5 years. After a few years a capacitor can get weaker. This can cause all sorts of problems for your equipment. A weak capacitor puts unnecessary stress on the motor and compressor. This stress can cause them to overheat, or not start at all. A weak capacitor can even cause the motor and compressor’s life to be shortened. Replacing them every few years is a relatively cheap and easy fix for do-it-yourselfers. When you switch out your capacitor, it is important to discharge yourself and the capacitor before removing it. This will make it safe to touch, and can prevent an unpleasant jolt of electricity.

Contactors are important to change every 4-5 years as well. Contactors are connected to all of the main electrical. They are connected to the compressor, fan motor, thermostat, and capacitor. When the thermostat calls for cooling, the contactor closes the circuits. These closed electrical circuits let the electricity flow through the contacts and power the unit. As a contactor gets older and dirt gets into the contacts, it becomes more difficult for the circuits to close. If they can’t close properly, the contactor tries to push electrical current harder, and that causes extra stress on the electrical contacts. With extra stress on the contacts, the electrical equipment is stressed too. In order to prevent the unnecessary stress on the air conditioner, it is recommended to replace the contactor every 4-5 years.

These simple tips are the type of preventative maintenance that will help keep your home comfort system running efficiently. Replacing these parts consistently will help lengthen the life of your system. Replacing these parts will help keep the costs to a minimum, and can let you focus on the important things in life. If you need any of these parts, or other technical support, feel free to check out our website at www.hvacpartsshop.com. We’ll be happy to help you out.site-logo

Thankful For Running Furnaces: Tips to Keep Them Running

Rustic Thankgiving DinnerLater this week most of us will find ourselves sitting around a platter-filled table among family, enjoying the stories and happenings that have occurred since our last gathering. And hopefully we will remember what the day is really all about – the celebration of giving thanks.

Many of us will be thankful for family and friends, good fortunes and safe travels, but will we take time to stop and consider the warmth of our homes and the machine that has blessed us with such coziness? Probably not! And we can’t say that we blame you!

Even so, we know that somewhere deep down, you are truly thankful for that wonderful machine and the warm air that it provides, so heaven forbid it ever stop providing it! Here are some tips to keep your furnace running and in the best of shape:

1.Check and Replace Filters 
Check your filter regularly. If it is so dirty that you are unable to see through it, then it is definitely time to replace. On average you should replace your filter about once a month.

2.Clean, Clean, Clean 
A clean furnace and air supply will inevitably increase your furnace’s overall lifespan. Keep your blower assembly and fans clean by wiping them down with a wet cloth.

Clean your vents and cuts for dust, cobwebs, pet hair, calcium deposits and anything else that may have collected there over time. Again, use a damp cloth and/or a large brush to clean the vent covers. The ducts can be cleaned with a high-powered vacuum.

3.Check Ducts For Leaks 
Air leaks contribute to poor indoor air quality, significant energy loss and overwork of your furnace. Locating and fixing leaks in your ducts can improve the comfort of your home, lower your utility bills and keep your furnace in tip-top shape longer.

4.Insulate Your House 
Retaining interior air within the walls of your home has many benefits including saving energy, keeping your bills down and preventing your furnace from overwork. Use weather stripping to seal air leaks in your house around doors and windows. Caulk all other cracks and gaps that you might find in your house. You should also check your attic, walls and basement for adequate insulation. If you can see the floor joists in your attic then you need more insulation.

5.Don’t Turn Your Thermostat Too High
Overworking your furnace will only improve its chances of wearing out. As it becomes colder outside, your furnace has to work harder to maintain your desired temperature. Keep your thermostat at a manageable temperature for your furnace.