Air Conditioner Filter Replacements
Serving Vancouver WA | Clark County Washington
Whether you’re choosing a basic AC filter or a filter for vents, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing how and when to replace your AC filter. At Vanport Mechanical, we value our customers, and we want your HVAC system to last for as long as possible. Part of maintaining your air conditioning system is changing your filter periodically. Here are our top tips for our HVAC customers!
What Kind of Air Conditioner Filter Should You Choose?
Every filter has its pros and cons. When we install or maintain your AC or HVAC system, ask us about which filter is right for your system! Here are the basics:
- Washable AC filters
- These are very environmentally friendly, but not so people-friendly: they let almost everything through them, including large dust and debris particulates.
- If you don’t clean and dry them well enough, they can harbor germs and even mold/mildew!
- They are the least effective type of filters on the market.
- Fiberglass filters
- The classic AC filter, designed with layers of very thin fiberglass to catch dust and large particulates.
- These provide a very basic protection level, nothing more.
- They should be changed monthly. They’re known to clog and cause airflow restrictions after only a short period of time.
- Polyester and pleated filters
- These filters offer more protection from dust than fiberglass filters, but less than HEPA filters.
- They should be checked or changed every 2 to 3 months, depending on your home.
- Once they start changing to a gray color, they’re going to need to be changed to avoid airflow restrictions.
- HEPA filters
- These heavy duty filters are great with those for allergies or other health concerns.
- They need to be changed pretty regularly to be effective.
- HEPA filters also need to be changed frequently to prevent your HVAC system from working too hard. The fibers in HEPA filters are much closer than regular filters, and if not free of dust and allergens, can prevent air from passing through as easily.
Consider Your MERV Rating for the Perfect Fit
The MERV rating is the efficiency of the filter, and should be selected based upon your home’s needs. The higher the number, the more efficient it is at capturing smaller and smaller dust/debris/particulates in the air stream. The MERV rating measures microns; one micron is roughly 1/100 the size of the human hair. Pretty small!
We recommend choosing the lowest MERV rating that will suit your needs, to save both on cost of replacement as well as to allow maximum airflow into your HVAC equipment. As you may imagine, the better the filter is at catching small particulates, the more it can restrict airflow to your equipment.
The minimum recommended MERV rating is 8, which will capture particulates down to 10 microns, or 1/10 the size of the human hair. It should capture effectively most dust particles and debris through the air that may cause harm to your air conditioning equipment, but it will be the most baseline protection for you and your family as far as the quality of air that you’re breathing.
How Often to Change the AC Filter
How often you change your AC filter is really dependent on a number of factors:
- Size of home
- Number of people within the home
- Number of pets (and quantity of hair)
- Severity of allergies
- Type of air filter
- Level of outside air pollution
There’s a drastic difference between an air filter for a 600 sq foot rural home with no pets, and a 3,000 sq foot urban home with five dogs. Your HVAC technician can help you decide the filter-changing schedule that’s right for your home.
How to Change the AC Filter
While every HVAC system is different, the concept is the same: most HVAC systems will filter air before it gets re-circulated. What does this mean?
Check the blower compartment or the intake duct at your furnace or air handler. Some HVAC systems tuck their filters deep within the system, so you may need professional guidance or assistance to change the filter on your own. Ask the professionals at Vanport Mechanical for help any time–we love to show you how to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape!
Contact Vanport today with any questions, or to schedule your next maintenance call!
Air Conditioner Filters in Vancouver WA
Serving The Greater Vancouver WA and Clark County WA Areas