The summer season has arrived, and families everywhere are celebrating with trips to the cottage, fun outings, and late-night bonfires.
You might also be spending more of your time at home – and whether you’re working on summer yard projects or relaxing with a book, you want your home to be comfortable and cool in the heat.
As with many elements of your home, the air filters are part of a larger system. This means that they are influenced by various external and internal factors. Regularly replacing your air filter will help to keep everything in the system working properly while minimizing your energy costs.
Let’s learn more about the variables affecting your home’s air filter, so that you can keep them maintained and operational!
What should you know about air filters?
Air filters have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (or MERV) which ranges from 1 to 12 for your home air conditioning unit. This value indicates the size of particles your air filter is designed to capture.
Higher MERV ratings are better at capturing smaller particles. Although it is beneficial in many cases to have a higher MERV rating on your air filter, this can increase energy requirements. A lower MERV rating allows more air to move through the filter, which in some cases can assist in the operation of your HVAC system.
An HVAC professional can determine the correct match of your air filter and MERV rating for your needs and system.
How will you know if your air filter needs replacing?
Every few weeks, you should take out your air filter and check it for a few key signs that indicate it needs replacing. Does it have a musty odour? Is the filter covered in dust? These are important questions to ask yourself when you inspect the filter.
You should also consider the type of air filter you have purchased. For basic 1” to 3” air filters, manufacturers will generally direct you to purchase a replacement every 30 to 60 days.
However, there are a few factors which will influence this frequency including:
1. Needs of those living in the home.
Do you have someone living with asthma and/or allergies in your home? They are more sensitive to airborne particles. In this case, you should replace your air filter every six (6) weeks to ensure their comfort.
If you have children living in your home, you can achieve superior indoor air quality for your young occupants by replacing your filter every two (2) to three (3) months. More people living in the home also increases the amount of airborne particle build up and you should consider changing your air filter every 20 to 45 days to improve air quality.
2. Presence of pets in the home.
If you have cats or dogs in your home, they will be shedding most in the spring and fall. They can also introduce odours into the home. Replacing your filter every two (2) months (at a minimum) is a good idea when you have pets.
3. Characteristics of your home and its location.
Do you live in a hot climate, and run your air conditioning almost constantly? You are going to want to replace that filter every few weeks, particularly if have been purchasing a less expensive filter option. Is your home located in an area with a lot of construction and air pollution? This is another reason for more frequent filter replacements.
Smaller homes, in contrast, reduce the demands on your HVAC system, which may mean less frequent filter changes.
Many people do not think about their HVAC system until it does not work. If you stay informed and maintain your air filter, you will be more likely to achieve superior air quality, enhanced performance, and reduced energy costs of your HVAC system.
Here at Applewood Air, we are happy to help you determine the best air filter and replacement cycle for your needs and system. Give us a call today to learn more!