Everything You Need to Know About Air Filters

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ac repair desoto tx

One of the most important things you can do for your HVAC system is to change or clean the air filters frequently. Clean air filters improve the indoor air quality in your Desoto, TX home, and keep your unit efficient. In this post, our experts discuss everything you need to know about air filters.

Need AC repair, Desoto, TX homeowner? Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating can help. Call us at (469) 518-4211 or visit us online today. 

Continue reading for more information about air filters. 

Air Filters: Why Do We Need Them?

Homeowners may be surprised to find out that air quality is often worse indoors than it is outside. Here’s what the air in your home has to contend with:

  • Dust and dirt.
  • Pollen.
  • Pet hair and dander.
  • Mold and mold spores.
  • Bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Fibers, lint and other particles like wood or plaster.
  • Pests, like cockroaches and rodents. 
  • Gases, like carbon monoxide, cooking fumes and smoke by-products.

The presence of both indoor and outdoor air pollutants can cause a rise in symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers. If you or other household members frequently experience sneezing, coughing fits, runny noses or unexplained headaches and nausea, poor indoor air quality might be the culprit.

How Do Air Filters Work?

Air filters allow the air in your home to pass through your HVAC unit and duct system while trapping any unwanted particles. This prevents contaminants from continuously cycling through your home where they might be inhaled or cause skin irritation. Those who suffer from allergies or other respiratory challenges, like asthma, can benefit from installing High Efficiency Particulate (HEPA) air filters in their homes.

In addition to protecting your health, air filters help prevent offending particles from building up inside of your ductwork over time. An unchecked contaminant buildup in your air ducts can lead to musty odors, mold and mildew growth or insect and rodent infestations. 

Disposable filters need to be changed frequently, while reusable filters can be washed instead. A good rule of thumb to check the state of your air filters is to hold one up to a light source. Light should be able to pass through the filter. If not, you’re dealing with a clog. This means that not only is the indoor air quality of your home compromised, but your HVAC unit is suffering too. Dirty air filters make your unit work harder than it needs to, driving up energy costs and causing needless AC repair.

What are MERV Ratings?

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of an air filter indicates how effective it is at preventing unwanted air particles from entering your HVAC system. The higher an air filter’s MERV rating is, the smaller the particles it can trap will be. As a result, a high MERV rating means you’re getting a more efficient filter. 

MERV ratings range from one to 20, with MERV 20 air filters typically found in medical settings where hygiene is paramount. Residential HVAC units can handle air filters with a MERV rating of up to around 12 or 13 before it becomes too difficult to push air through. Your Desoto air experts at Dial One Plumbing, Cooling and Heating can provide guidance on the best MERV rating for your system. 

Are Reusable Air Filters Worth It?

Washable air filters provide homeowners with an eco-friendly option. They are reusable and typically last for several years before they need to be replaced. The majority of washable air filters are electrostatic, which means they use electricity to attract particles and trap them. To clean a reusable air filter, simply hose it off as needed, allow it to dry and reinstall it. 

Electrostatic air filters often don’t trap the smaller particles that cause asthma and allergy symptoms. As a result, it’s difficult to find reusable filters with high MERV ratings. Households where allergies or other respiratory challenges are a concern will benefit from investing in HEPA-type filters instead. 

How to Replace Air Filters

Air filters are installed in your unit’s return vents, also called return registers. Depending on the size of your home and HVAC system, you might have between one and three (or more) return vents. These vents pull air in to heat or cool it. If you’re unsure which vents are returns, check for those that do not blow air out when the system is running a cycle. If you place your hand very close to the return register, you might even feel it sucking air in. 

To replace an air filter, remove the metal grate in front of the return vent. You can check the old air filter to see what size you need as dimensions are often printed on the side of the filter’s frame. If you are unsure what size or thickness air filter you need, our HVAC technicians can make recommendations. 

In addition to dimensions, the frame should also include an arrow. This indicates the direction of airflow. When inserting a new filter, make sure the arrow points toward your ductwork, where air is being drawn in.  

As a general rule, you’ll want to replace or clean air filters every 90 days. This number varies depending on your climate, lifestyle and number of pets in the home. Contact an air conditioning service company for personalized recommendations based on your needs. 

Annual HVAC Maintenance in Desoto, TX

Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating can help with repairs, installations and regular HVAC maintenance. Our qualified technicians are fully trained, licensed and insured to be your Desoto HVAC experts. 

We offer services in plumbing, heating and air conditioner repair. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can feel confident that you are receiving the best possible service. When it comes to AC repair, Desoto, TX relies on Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating. 

To learn more, give us a call at (972) 885-6373 or visit our website to schedule an appointment today. Our team is always ready to help.

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