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You are in Phoenix. We also have a Tucson site.

You are in Phoenix. We also have a Tucson site.

Clearing the Air: A Homeowner's Guide HVAC Air Filters

Maintaining the air quality in your home hinges significantly on the little-seen but vital component: the air filter in your HVAC unit. These filters do the heavy lifting. They trap dust, allergens, and other airborne particles, ensuring the air in your home remains clean and fresh.  Changing out your air filter regularly not only improves indoor air quality but also enhances the efficiency and lifespan of your HVAC unit. This is a crucial aspect of home maintenance, impacting both your comfort and health.

Stay with us as we dive into how HVAC air filters, how to change them, how to choose the right one, and how they can be a game changer for your home. 

Air Filters: The Key Players in Your HVAC System

Air filters in your AC system are vital for keeping the air in your home clean, each type serving a unique purpose. But how many types are there? And how do you determine which one is best? Well, first you need to understand MERV and MPR ratings. MERV and MPR are indicators of a filter's efficiency in capturing particles, with MERV being a broader industry standard and MPR being a proprietary system used by 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company) for their filters.

MERV vs. MRP Navigating Air Filter Ratings for Cleaner Indoor Air

MERV: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This is a standardized rating system that measures the effectiveness of air filters in trapping and removing particles from the air. The scale typically ranges from 1 to 16, with higher MERV ratings indicating a greater ability to capture smaller particles. 

MPR: Microparticle Performance Rating. This is a rating system developed by 3M specifically for their Filtrete brand filters. MPR focuses on a filter's ability to capture particles ranging from 0.3 to 1 micron in size. The MPR scale ranges from 100 to 2800, with higher numbers representing better filtration capabilities for smaller particles.

Good, Better, Best

Navigating the world of HVAC filter maintenance involves understanding the nuanced differences in MERV and MPR ratings. Here is a quick guide:

Good Option: MERV 8 or MPR 600

  • Efficiently captures larger particles

  • Suitable for standard household needs

Better Choice: MERV 11 or MPR 1000

  • Enhanced filtration

  • Particularly beneficial for pet owners or those dealing with moderate allergens

Best-in-Class: MERV 13 or MPR 1500 and Above

  • Excels in capturing even finer particles

  • Ideal for environments requiring superior air quality 

It's crucial to align your selection with specific needs, ensuring a harmonious balance between filtration effectiveness and overall HVAC system performance for the optimal indoor air quality your home deserves.

Pleated, HEPA, and Beyond: Types of Air Filters

Next, you can break it down by type of air filter, and thickness:

Fiberglass Filters

  • Basic line of defense

  • Great for blocking larger particles like dust and lint

Pleated Filters

  • Intermediate option

  • Catches smaller particles, improving air quality

HEPA Filters

  • All-stars of filtration

  • Captures even the tiniest particles for optimal air cleanliness

  • Helps HVAC system run more efficiently

These filters not only keep your air clean; they also help your HVAC system run more efficiently, like a well-oiled machine. Regularly changing your home air filter is key - it's a small task with big benefits for your home's air quality and your HVAC's performance.

Locating and Inspecting Your Air Filter

Finding and checking your HVAC's air filter is easier than you might think. First, locate your air handler unit - it's usually either in a closet, attic, or basement. Look for a slot along the edge where the filter should be. It's like a secret compartment but for air safety.

Once you find the filter, slide it out gently. Check if it's dirty. A clean filter looks like a fresh piece of white bread, while a dirty one resembles toast that's been left in the toaster a bit too long. If you see a lot of grime or if it's been three months since the last change, it's time for a new one. 

At Parker & Sons, we follow the Golden Rule to change your air filter every 30 days! A helpful reminder is whenever your electric bill comes, change your filter. Changing your filter regularly keeps your air clean and your HVAC happy.

Air Filter Replacement Process

Changing your HVAC filter is an essential maintenance task that keeps your air clean and your system running smoothly. This guide will help you do it in easy steps, whether you're a seasoned pro or a first-timer.

1. Turn Off Your HVAC Unit

Before starting, make sure to switch off your HVAC unit. This is a critical safety step to prevent any accidental startups while you're working.

2. Find Filter Location

Find the filter in your HVAC unit. It's typically in an easy-to-access area, either in the air handler or a designated compartment.

3. Remove Old Filter

Gently slide out the old filter. Check for a buildup of dust and debris. A dirty air filter is easy to spot - it will look significantly discolored and clogged.

4. Check Filter Size

Make sure you have the right size for the replacement filter. Matching the size is crucial for the filter to function properly in your HVAC unit.

5. Insert New Filter

Carefully replace the filter, aligning it according to the air flow direction. The arrow on the side of the filter should point towards the HVAC unit, guiding the air through the filter.

6. Seal Everything Up

After placing the new filter, ensure its securely fitted and the compartment is closed properly. A well-seated filter ensures optimal air filtration and system efficiency.

7. Turn HVAC Unit Back On 

Now, power up your HVAC unit. With the fresh filter in place, it's all set to keep your indoor air clean and your system efficient.

Dealing with Common Challenges

When changing your HVAC filter, you might face a few hurdles. Budget constraints are common, but there are cost-effective solutions. You don't always need the most expensive filter. Sometimes, a mid-range pleated filter offers a good balance between cost and effectiveness. Consider a HVAC air filter subscription to ease your mind and leave the task up to someone else!

Different HVAC models might require specific filters. If you're unsure, check your unit's manual or look up the model online for guidance. It's like doing a bit of detective work to find the right match. 

If the filter seems tough to access or if you're uncertain about the replacement process, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Parker & Sons, can offer assistance without breaking the bank, ensuring your HVAC runs effectively without unnecessary expenses.

Regular Maintenance and Care

Regularly changing your HVAC's air filter is a small but impactful routine that benefits both your air conditioner and your home's air quality. A clean filter is essential for your HVAC to function at its best, reducing wear and tear on the system and helping to prevent costly repairs down the line.

More importantly, it significantly improves the air quality in your home, keeping it free from common allergens and dust. This simple maintenance step is a win-win: it ensures your HVAC runs efficiently, saving on energy costs, and it supports a more comfortable, healthier living environment.

Remember, a well-maintained HVAC filter is a key component in your overall home care strategy.

Now You Know How to Change an HVAC Filter

Understanding how to change an HVAC filter is essential for maintaining optimal indoor air quality unit efficiency all year long. Replace filters regularly; it not only ensures cleaner air but also prolongs the life of your HVAC system.

For those who need assistance or professional maintenance, Parker & Sons offers comprehensive HVAC services. We provide reliable, expert care, ensuring your home's air conditioning system is in excellent condition. Reach out to Parker & Sons for top-notch support in all your HVAC needs, where we prioritize your comfort and safety.

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