Do I need to change my furnace filter and if so, how often?
Yes, a dirty air filter is the number one reason for HVAC system failure. A dirty filter restricts the air flow into your HVAC systems air handler or furnace. This restricted air flow places additional strain on the equipment fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor and cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail. Most units should have their air filters changed once every three months. If the unit is being constantly used, or you run the fan motor continuously, check the filter monthly. Excessive use or extreme weather will necessitate more frequent changing.. Always check and change your filter when doing any home remodeling or construction work in or around the house.
Where is the furnace filter located?
Your air filter is most likely located between the return air drop and the side of the furnace or air handler. The air handler or furnace pulls air in from the house through the return duct system, and then blows the air through the HVAC system and back into the house through the duct system. On some furnaces the air filter is located in a basket inside the furnace blower area. Also in some cases the filter is located on the wall in a hinged return air grill.
Air filter sizes come in a variety of dimensions. The most common width is 1”, but height and length will vary by manufacturer. Most standard filters have the size on the edge of the filter.
What kind of filter should I use?
We suggest a pleated filter of medium grade (MERV 8). MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value. This is an industry standard rating system that allows you to compare filters made by different manufacturers. A MERV rating is a numerical value ranging from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 20 (highest efficiency) and tells the consumer how well the filter captures and holds dirt and dust of a specified size range. Consider that a filter becomes more efficient as time goes on. Once the filter starts to collect dirt it collects more and more until no air can pass through the system. So the higher the Merv Rating the shorter the interval between changes! Some new 1″ very high density filters are too dense right out of the package. As a rule of thumb you should be able to see a silhouette through a new filter. If you can’t see through it change it!
If you want a higher MERV rating you will have to go to a wider 4 or 5 inch filter.