Air Filter Maintenance Keeps Your Home Clean and Comfortable

Change your heating / air conditioning air filters on a regular basis to keep your home comfortable, and avoid respiratory difficulties, allergies, and illness due to the circulation of bad air in your home.

Video: John Traub on Changing Your Air Filters

John Traub, president and owner of Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning discusses the importance of changing air filters. Did you know that a dusty filter reduces air flow and increases the energy used by 5 – 15%? Often, a dusty filter will lead to a dirty coil which may affect the performance of your home’s ventilation system.


Change Air Filters Regularly to Avoid a Service Call

To your home’s heating and cooling system operating at peak efficiency, and the interior environment as clean and healthy as possible, you should change your air filter every 3 (1-3") – 4 (4-5") months (based on type and size of filter) to avoid the need for a service call. They are not expensive (for example, you can get a half dozen 16"x25" 4-inch filters for around $50 at Home Depot,) and can save you hundreds of dollars in costly repairs. Based on your specific system, or for health-related reasons, you may need to change filters as often as monthly. Check your equipment guide or contact your Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning representative for more information.

Finally, make sure your air filter fits the air return properly. You can try taping down loose fitting edges if you can not find a better fit. You want the air to move through the filter, not around it.

Air Filter Options: Did You Know There Were So Many?

Media Air Filters are not commonly used by homeowner due to their lack of availability and consumer awareness. Ask your Thiele representative for details.

Air Filter Differences – What’s Important

Efficiency is the measure of the number of particles and contaminates removed from the air by your air filter. Efficiency is extremely important when you, or a family member, have asthma or allergies.

Air flow is also very important to your home’s heating and cooling equipment. A clogged air filter can create a reduction of air flow that may cause equipment to malfunction or stop operating altogether. Additionally, excess dirt in the filter could migrate and cause damage to motors, fans or coils. It’s the air filter’s job to clean the air before it gets into your equipment.

So how do you balance between efficiency and air flow? Well, for each household it is different. Each home has a best balance. There are several designs to choose from when picking your home’s filter of choice as this article will point out.

Regardless of your choice, make sure to keep your filter maintained whether that means timely replacements or washing. Air filter maintenance is imperative for your home’s indoor air quality and the safety and comfort of your family.

This article is not about price, but about options and recognizing the necessity of proper maintenance. It is important to be aware of your air filter capabilities and to determine what works best for your equipment and home. A variety of air filtering and purification options you can choose from. While costs vary, some options perform more efficiently than others.

There are several types to choose from:

  • Electrostatic air filters rely on electronic static or electricity and do not block air flow to your heating and cooling equipment. Because you are not blocking the air flow, the equipment is more apt to operate without issues such as clogging. The electrostatic Air Filter is not as efficient for removal of air contaminates as some of the alternatives. If your body is not sensitive to household inhabitants, this is an excellent choice for getting the most time out of your heating and air unit and its efficiency for clean air is over 90%.
  • Fiberglass panel filters – can be purchased at any store very inexpensively. The “you get what you pay for” mentality applies with this filter option. The fiberglass filter traps the large dust particles which will quickly build up causing airflow issues. These filters need replaced frequently. If not, your chances for equipment maintenance issues and/or breakdown increase significantly.
  • Media air filters – are used most frequently by HVAC professionals because they are cost effective and reliable. Wholesalers of HVAC professional supplies are the providers of these products and usually only to industry professionals. Therefore, availability and awareness are the primary reasons all homeowners do not use media air filters. This filter works based on the large number of layers of fiber. A contaminate will get stopped before ever making it through all the layers and without poorly affecting air flow.
  • Pleated air filters – are a very popular choice for homeowners. Some are almost as good as media air filters, but they need to be changed more frequently.
    • While available in sizes from one to six inches, people usually select a design of two inches or less. Many builders use these filters because of availability, durability, costs; and they work. There are several varieties, some of which include odor control and electrostatic options, wire mesh etc.
    • Air particles land on the cover of this type of filter, as opposed to getting inside. Remember, the more the air is filtered, that much less air flow comes through the unit. Therefore, the folds add surface area to collect particles while allowing plentiful air flow.
    • If you have allergies, you can still use the pleated air filter, but need to find one with a Merv rating of 10 or 12.
  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) media – stop particles and contaminates from going further. If you have allergies or asthma this may be the filter for you.
    • HEPA media removes dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold spores and household allergens while providing maximum dust removal.
    • This filter is over 99% efficient and has more pleats per inch than the other pleated filters which increases airflow.
  • Activated carbon air filter are used for buildings heavy with smells or odors.
    • Gas, cigarette smoke, animal and garbage odors can be remedied by using this charcoal based filter.
    • It is not as efficient as some of the other options but you will be able to minimize use of unnatural sprays and colognes to camouflage odors.

Again, whatever you choose, please be sure to clean or replenish your filter on a regular basis.

Filter maintenance is the key to a healthy indoors and keeping your heating and air system working efficiently and effectively.