Air Filters 101: Everything You Need to Know to Care for Yours

The job of your HVAC system is to distribute cooled or heated air throughout your home in the most energy-efficient way feasible. The indoor air quality of your home is all about making sure the air is as clean and healthy to inhale as possible. Air filters help keep common dust and toxic microorganisms from dirtying the air that you breathe.

Our HVAC pros at Super Heat & Air are here to discuss the importance of air filters and everything that you need to know to care for yours!

Types of Home Air Filters

You may already know the size of filter that you need, but do you know what type of filter is best? For your home, you need a filter that stops dust but still allows air to flow. Filters are designed to protect your HVAC system by stopping dust and other particles before they reach the key components of your system. 

Common household dust can coat the evaporator coil and in turn, overwork your air conditioner. 

Inorganic dust is made from:

  • Dirt particles
  • Soot and ash
  • Paint particles
  • Chemical particulates 

Biological air contaminants include:

  • Pollen
  • Skin cells
  • Mold and bacteria spores
  • Algae
  • Dead dust mites

The floating fibers that we generically call “lint” can be made up of carpeting and clothing fibers, hair from humans and pets, plant fibers, and possibly even spider webs and cobwebs. 

Surprisingly, the EPA has found that the air indoors is typically as much as 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. The lack of air exchange with the outdoors allows indoor toxins to accumulate and concentrate to unhealthy levels. This is where a good air filter helps! 

Types of Filters

Fiberglass Mesh Filters 

These filters are thin and allow ample airflow, but they are not great at catching dust or debris. 

Tightly Pleated Filters 

Filters are rated on a scale called MERV or minimum efficiency reporting value. The MERV rating refers to how tight the pleats are on a filter, and the higher the MERV rating, the tighter the pleats are. 

A MERV rating of 13 or higher will not allow the air to flow, as filters with this rating are too thickly pleated. They will protect your unit from dust and other allergens but can cause your unit to overwork and overheat. 

Washable Filters

Washable filters can save you money over time (if you can remember to pull your filter out and wash it)! Even if you are good at washing your filter, it can be hard to thoroughly clean the filter and over time washable filters can begin to break down and become less effective. 

Generally, we recommend pleated filters for your unit, but not ones with tight pleats. Choose a filter with a MERV rating of around 8 with wide pleats, and it should be just right! 

Filter Efficiency

For proper airflow and efficiency, we recommend changing your air filters once a month; especially if you have pets! 

The blower in your HVAC system circulates about 1,400 cubic feet of air per minute—that is a lot of continuous air! Not to mention all the airborne particulates moving along with it. The front line to removing these allergens and particulates is the air filter inside your HVAC system, so make sure to change it once a month during peak heating and cooling season! 

Tampa Bay HVAC Preventive Maintenance 

Prevent HVAC breakdowns this summer, and make sure to change those air filters! Call the pros at Super Heat & Air for seasonal maintenance and any questions about air filters. Our technicians will ensure that your system is running smoothly and efficiently year-round! Call us at (813) 981-7631 or schedule a service visit online today!