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.
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.
Later 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.
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.