Keep Your Filters Changed

February 26, 2014 6:06 pm

If you have ever been caught in the middle of a severe dust or sand storm, or if you have ever tried to walk through a burning building without a mask over your mouth and nose, you know that your lungs won’t function correctly, and that your body is deprived of oxygen if you don’t filter out the contaminates. If this goes on for more than a few minutes, severe injury or death will occur. This is because millions of particles invade your lungs, clogging up the respiratory system that was designed to process clean air.

Similarly, if your air conditioning or heating system does not have an air filter to block out the particulates in the air, it will eventually be damaged to the point of complete failure. As a matter of fact, the number one reason for HVAC failure is due to a dirty air filter, which restricts the flow of air to the air handler. Not only does this place undue strain on the air handler fan motor and cause a possible burn out, but it severely affects the ability of the unit to perform what it is supposed to do, and that’s heat and cool your home. Also, when your motor works harder, it draws more energy, and your power bills go up. If you are the environmentally responsible type, you will be glad to know that consuming less energy will drastically reduce your carbon footprint.

A dirty air filter is not healthy. When the air quality in your home decreases, you are subject to aggravating the complications that come with breathing in dust and pollen, including allergies and asthma. Other lung conditions that can occur in a dusty environment are Silicosis, Beryllium disease, Farmers Lung, Cheese Washer’s Lung, Humidifier Fever, and many others.

If you have lived in a dusty environment, you know that it is almost impossible to keep up with the dreaded housecleaning duty of dusting. When your A/C unit or heater is kicking out a regular stream of dusty air, the difficulty of the task multiplies ten fold.

If you live in a home with multiple air conditioners, remember that there will be more than one air filter. Your home may have air filters in the return duct system, as well as in the air handler. Be sure to check each location so that all of your air filters get changed out. You will usually find the air filter where the return duct enters the air handler. Find a hinged (or removable) cover and locate the air filter inside.

There are a myriad of different sizes of air filters. It is important to note what size you need before you go to the hardware store to purchase new ones, or you are sure to have to make a return trip. Usually the filters will be one inch wide, but as far as the length and width, that’s anybody’s guess! If you know the size, just look at the outside of the air filters on the shelves; the size is usually printed prominently on the edges of the filter for easy size matching. If the size is not marked on your dirty filter, just measure it, but keep in mind that some filters don’t measure exactly to the inch. You may have to round up to the nearest whole number. For instance, if you are measuring a filter that is 19½” by 23¾” you would get a filter that indicates a size of 20″ x 24″.

The effectiveness of a filter can be determined by looking at the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Rating Value). The numbers on the MERV rating system go from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 16 (highest efficiency). This system grades the filter’s ability to trap dirt and dust. Don’t just automatically purchase the least expensive brand. Remember, as with most everything else, you get what you pay for. On the other hand, the very costly filters may not necessarily the best for your situation.

If you are not sure what type of air filter you should use, remember that the purpose of the filter is to clean the air. It is always prudent to check with your A/C manufacturer to see what type of filter they most recommend for your unit. As you make your selection, choose a filter that will best trap contaminates and particulates, still allowing air to flow freely. Whatever type of filter you use, just be sure to keep it changed or cleaned regularly. Oh, and give us a call at Hassell Air Conditioning if we can help with any of your air conditioning and heating needs.

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