Your home is not an impenetrable fortress that keeps out the dust, cold, heat and pollen of the outside world. It’s filled with windows, doors, cracks in the wall and minute crevices that can invite in all those things you’d prefer stay outside. With the right air filter, though, you can easily remove these invaders as the air circulates through your HVAC system.
Many homeowners may not realize their current air filter could be doing more harm than good. It’s important you fully understand the type of air filter your HVAC system requires to best clean your home’s air and keep your loved ones healthy.
What Does an Air Filter Do?
Many homeowners rely on their air filters to clean and purify their home’s air so their family can remain happy and healthy. This, however, is an incomplete understanding of how air filters work and what they’re meant to do. Air filters do clean your home’s air, trapping dust, particles and pollen in their fibers, but they don’t necessarily cleanse or purify anything.
“Cleaning” air refers to filtering out relatively large particles; “purifying” is another matter entirely. Purified air is free of most or all microbes that are carried on air currents, like bacteria and viruses. Air filter fibers are too large to successfully remove these microscopic germs, so, while your filtered air is free of dust, it isn’t sterile like some people may believe. However, it is worth noting that large particles like pollen, pet dander and dead skin can carry plenty of bacteria themselves, so filtering these out of the air could also remove some bacteria from your home.
Even though air filters don’t create a “clean room” environment in your home, they still serve an important role. Dust and debris can collect in your HVAC unit’s internal components and potentially damage them or even set them on fire. One of the air filter’s most important purposes is to protect the HVAC unit from debris. So, while you may not feel too strongly about keeping up with monthly air filter replacements, your HVAC unit really does need clean air filters for optimal performance.
Changing your air filter once every three months, or once per month during high use seasons, is a simple five-minute task. The hardest part of the job is probably going to the store to pick out the right one. Unfortunately, the air filter aisle is filled with so many options, many homeowners will just grab one off the shelf without realizing that particular filter may not fit in their unit. Some filters boast high filtration percentages, while others claim to cleanse and purify. But when you get down to it, isn’t one filter just as good as any other?
In truth, no. Not every HVAC unit is the same, and, therefore, not every filter will have the same effect on your unit. Using the incorrect filter for your HVAC system could result in higher energy bills, dirtier air or even costly repairs.
Every HVAC system has a manufacturer-recommended air filter. This information can be found online or in your HVAC manual. Typically, manufacturers will recommend an inexpensive, disposable, fiberglass filter with a decent enough energy efficiency and particulate filtration rating over a thick, expensive, highly-efficient model. This may seem backwards, but the denser and larger the air filter is, the weaker the airflow will be. This can cause your furnace to overheat, your condenser to freeze and your whole system to work harder, raising your energy bills. You may think you’re getting the best quality air filter by “upgrading,” but in reality, you’re better off sticking to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Sometimes, though, your manufacturer’s recommendation doesn’t account for the level of filtration you or your family needs. Perhaps a member of your household has particularly bad allergies or asthma. Maybe you live with an infant or a senior who is especially susceptible to airborne illness. Whatever your reasoning, it’s okay to deviate a little bit from the manufacturer’s recommended air filter. Because manufacturers tend to recommend the lowest quality necessary for proper function, purchasing a similarly sized filter with better ratings should be just fine.
Before you go running to the store, though, you should consult a professional on the matter. An HVAC technician can help you determine the best filter for your needs while also ensuring the filter you get isn’t too large or dense for your system to handle. When you find a filter that works for you, continue using that same one until your needs change. Try to avoid switching air filters without a consultation.
Enjoy a Cleaner, Healthier Home With Aramendia Plumbing Heating & Air
You may not have hospital-quality air circulating throughout your home, but with the right air filter in place, you can breathe a little easier knowing your home is cleaner and your HVAC unit is safe from harm. If you’re brand new to a home or your needs have recently changed, it’s probably time to consult with an experienced HVAC professional to determine which air filter is best for you.
At Aramendia Plumbing Heating & Air, we know your highest priority is the wellness of your family, while ours is the function of your HVAC system. We’ve been serving the San Antonio area for more than 30 years and are proud to be the region’s most trusted HVAC team. Our regular clients know we only provide honest service, not underhanded upsell tactics, so they always get the most bang for their buck. Our HVAC professionals can help you set up an appropriate service and filter plan that works for your unique situation. Contact us online or call 210-654-1034 to schedule your appointment today!
Aramendia has been serving San Antonio
and the surrounding areas for over 29 years and we pride ourselves on the trust and reputation we have earned over that time. Our loyal customers know us as a reliable and trustworthy service company that will quickly send a highly-qualified technician to their home or office to take care of them. In August of 2017, Aramendia became part of the Service Experts family. As a Service Experts company, Aramendia will continue to serve San Antonio and the surrounding area.