Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

When’s the Last Time You Changed Your Air Filters?

Did you know that nearly 50 percent of the power you use in your home is used by your cooling and heating system? For this reason, you need to make smart choices surrounding your HVAC system. Doing so will reduce the cost of your utilities. One easy way to help reduce your cooling and heating costs is to change your air filters regularly.

Air filter manufacturers usually make recommendations as to when you should change your filter. Recommendations vary from every month to every three months, depending on the kind of filter you use.

Even if a manufacturer suggests changing your filter every three months, you need to check it every month. If the filter looks dirty, change it.

You should never use the same filter for more than three months. If an air filter is left in your system too long, your HVAC system will end up working harder and running longer. You will most likely need to change your filter more frequently during the summer and winter months.

When purchasing new air filters, you’ll likely notice the different MERV ratings available. MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value, is the rating scale used to determine the effectiveness of air filters.

  • Filters with MERV ratings 1-4 help eliminate carpet fibers, pollen and dust mites. These are useful in residential systems.
  • Air filters with MERV ratings 5-13 help eliminate animal dander and dust mite debris. These are also used in residential settings, particularly for homes with residents dealing with allergy issues or respiratory problems.
  • MERV ratings of 13-16 eliminate bacteria, auto emission particulates and smoke dust. The higher the MERV rating, the more the airflow is blocked. That said, it’s not always best to have the highest rated filter in your home. Ask your trusted HVAC professional before selecting a high MERV filter.

Instead of using guesswork to determine when you need to change your air filters, you could install an air filter change indicator. Using an indicator will ensure that you’re not changing your filters too often or not frequently enough.

For more expert advice about choosing the right air filters for your HVAC system or any other issues related to keeping your home comfortable, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air. We proudly serve homeowners in and around the San Diego area.