HVAC air filters are a commonly neglected item. Perhaps it is their sheer simplicity that makes people take them for granted, but if you leave an air filter in place for too long it will stop doing the job it was designed to do.
Bad HVAC Air Filters Mean Bad Health
When they are clean HVAC air filters capture and remove particle contaminants of various sizes from your home’s airspace. But if not changed regularly they will accumulate so much dust, dirt and dander they become clogged and useless. Air flow through intake vents is then obstructed, putting excessive strain on furnaces and air conditioners that must labor to heat or cool air that is no longer passing through in sufficient amounts.
Even more concerning is the effect un-filtered pollutants can have on your health. Indoor air contamination can exacerbate existing cases of allergy, asthma, migraine headache syndrome, upper respiratory infection, irritation of the eyes/nose/throat and skin disorder, and sometimes it can cause fresh outbreaks of such conditions even when they weren’t previously present.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says most people are exposed to far more pollution indoors than they are outdoors, and they have identified this exposure as an urgent public health concerns. Of course failing to change HVAC air filters is not the primary cause of the trouble (the original sources of the pollution are public enemy #1). But every HVAC professional worth his or her salt will tell you that dirty, clogged air filters are a huge contributor to unhealthy indoor environments and that changing them on a regular basis will do you and your family a world of good.
Assessing the Different Types of HVAC Air Filter
Some HVAC air filters are cheap and disposable while others last longer and are more expensive. In general those that fall in the latter category will capture a wider range of particulate matter.
Fiberglass panel air filters are the cheapest option, generally retailing for under five dollars apiece. As you might imagine they are not effective at screening out small particles, including microbes and pollens frequently associated with illness and allergy, and they must be replaced approximately every month in order to remain functional.
Another inexpensive—and popular—option are pleated air filters, which cost two-to-three times as much, last two-to-three times as long and will remove two-to-three times as much airborne contamination as fiberglass filters. Pleated air filters are a good compromise choice, if you don’t want something too cheap but aren’t quite willing to pay for something of truly superior quality.
If you are willing to invest in a superior product, media air filters and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are probably your best bets. Each will filter out a wide variety of contaminants, including bacteria, mold and fungus spores and pollen, and each will have a much longer lifespan than the typical economy model.
Electrostatic air filters are an intermediate choice in both price and effectiveness. Some electrostatic filters can be cleaned and reused and in general they are noted for not clogging the way fiberglass or pleated air filters will. Electrostatic filters are a step above fiberglass and pleated in quality but a step below media and HEPA filters; they will last for a while but will not remove quite as many contaminants as the latter two options.
Need Advice about Air Filters? Call Mick’s Heating & Air Today
Changing an HVAC air filter is a quick and easy operation. Simply remove the intake vent grill with a screwdriver, pop out the square or rectangular filter and install a new one in its place. If you do choose a cheaper filter you should probably check it at least every three weeks to make sure it has not already become clogged.
Would you like some advice before you choose a new air filter? If so please give us a call at Mick’s Heating & Air, tell us a little about your situation and we will be glad to make suggestions. We are dedicated to serving all the HVAC-related needs of our customers in Anaheim and Orange County and are always available to answer questions and offer expert insight.
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