How to Replace an HVAC Air Filter

Most people are diligent about changing the oil in their cars because they understand that things can go seriously wrong when important maintenance isn’t performed in a timely manner. The same thing applies to home heating and cooling systems. Without taking at least basic care of your HVAC system, it’s sure to break down frequently and probably won’t last as long as it should. In the meantime, its efficiency will suffer, and you will have to deal with exorbitant energy bills. One simple thing that you can do to maintain your HVAC system is changing its air filter.

Reasons to Change the Air Filter Regularly

Changing the HVAC air filter is easy. It’s really important too. A few of the top reasons to replace the air filter promptly include:

  • Efficient Operation – As the air filter in your home heating and cooling system gets dirty, airflow is impeded. The equipment keeps working just as hard, and it may have to work even harder to produce the same results. This results in steadily increasing energy bills and more money out of your pocket.
  • Fewer Breakdowns – The air filter keeps dirt and other particulates from getting into your HVAC system. If it gets too dirty, its ability to do so suffers. Dirt and other debris get into your furnace and air conditioner, where they wreak all kinds of havoc. Changing the air filter is basic HVAC maintenance, and it can ward off costly repair bills later.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality – If clean air matters to you, you should be diligent about replacing the HVAC air filter. There are specialized air filters that are designed to pull even very microscopic impurities from the air. You and your family will breathe more easily knowing that a high-quality air filter is in place and being replaced regularly.

Choosing a New HVAC Air Filter

Take a peek at the air filter that’s currently in place to find out which kind you will need. Make a note of the size, and make sure to jot down the thickness as well. You don’t have to replace it with the exact same brand or type. If it’s just a basic panel filter with fiberglass, you may enjoy superior benefits by opting for something that’s more effective at removing impurities from the air.

MERV Ratings

How can you tell how effective an air filter will be at removing impurities from the air? The best way to do that is by checking its Minimum Efficiency Rating Value, which is otherwise known as the MERV rating. This rating reflects the degree to which an air filter can pull impurities from the air. The higher the rating, the smaller the impurities it can manage. Airborne particulates are measured in microns. Filters with high ratings can remove extremely small particulates, which produces much cleaner air.

Types of Air Filters

It’s easy to be confused by the different types of HVAC air filters that are available these days. Basic panel filters, which don’t offer any special air purification benefits, are the cheapest options. Pleated panel filters have larger surface areas, so you can usually go longer before replacing them. Still, they don’t offer any special air purification benefits. High-efficiency pleated filters are electrostatically charged, which means that they attract tiny impurities and trap them. HEPA HVAC filters are available but aren’t compatible with older systems.

How to Replace the HVAC Air Filter

After buying the correct replacement air filter, follow these steps:

  • Remove the Old Air Filter – Removing the old, dirty air filter should be as simple as sliding it out. On some systems, the filter is screwed into place, so you might need a screwdriver. Air filters are occasionally housed behind panels that swing open.
  • Install the New Air Filter – When you remove the old air filter, make a mental note about how it is oriented. This will save you the trouble of figuring it out when you go to install the new one. You should be able to just slide it in the same way and be done with it.

Is Changing the HVAC Air Filter Enough?

You may think your work is done after changing the air filter, but it’s just one step in the important HVAC maintenance process. These systems consist of many different components, and they all need a little attention from time to time. This is precisely why it’s so important to have a qualified HVAC contractor perform routine maintenance on your heating and cooling system. You’ll do your part by changing the air filter regularly, but you should still have maintenance performed at least once a year to keep your equipment operating effectively and efficiently for the long run.

Keeping Up with HVAC Maintenance in St. Petersburg, FL

Residents of St. Petersburg, FL, and the surrounding area rely on Senica Air Conditioning, Inc. for their heating and cooling maintenance needs. We offer service agreements and maintenance contracts. By signing up for one, you can rest assured that your equipment is being maintained properly. Our techs will carefully inspect your HVAC system and clean it as necessary. If problems are found, quick, easy, affordable repairs can be made. Contact us now to learn more or to sign up.