Why is it So Important to Change My Air Filter?

HVAC air filters intercept airborne particulates that can clog up your heating and cooling equipment and interfere with its smooth, efficient functioning. This particulate pollution comes from a number of sources and can damage your health if repeatedly inhaled over an extended period of time.

The Health Risks of Dirty HVAC Air Filters

Ironically, the biggest problem with HVAC air filters is they work too well. They remove so much indoor pollution so fast that they can quickly become clogged, and if you are not diligent about changing your filters they will eventually stop functioning.

Unless you check you won’t know if this has happened, but if it has the chances are you and your family members will feel the effects within a short period of time. Without the able assistance of your filters airborne contamination can rapidly build up, and excessive indoor air pollution is associated with a number of troublesome health conditions including allergies, rashes, asthma, dizziness, headaches, upper respiratory distress and chronic fatigue.

Your HVAC Air Filter Choices

Once you locate them it’s incredibly easy to change air filters. They come in square or rectangular shapes and can be inserted directly into pre-formed grooves just inside air intake grills, which can be quickly removed and put back in place again with a flat-head screwdriver.

HVAC air filters are sold at every hardware and home supply store, so they are not difficult to find. They generally range in price from a couple of bucks a piece to $30 or more for the better ones.

These are your primary options …

  1. Media air filters: Highly efficient, highly recommended but more expensive than most other types of air filter. Will do an excellent job and could be especially useful if someone in your home is sensitive to or allergic to household dust.
  2. Pleated air filters: A cheaper and less effective version of the media air filter, should do a relatively thorough job if replaced every two or three months.
  3. Electrostatic air filters: Reasonably effective and modestly priced, will not clog and in some cases can be cleaned instead of changed.
  4. Fiberglass panel filters: They’re extremely cheap, don’t catch the tiniest particles and will need to be replaced monthly. Will work okay but do not forget to change them on schedule.
  5. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters: The crème de la crème of the HVAC air filter scene. HEPA filters will capture virtually everything and are absolutely the best choice if you are worried about health problems related to indoor air contamination. While HEPA filters are relatively expensive, rest assured that even the best air filters aren’t going to tax your budget to the breaking point.

These are your basic choices, but if you have a serious odor problem in your home you might want to consider purchasing an activated carbon filter, which are specially manufactured to remove odor-causing contaminants.

Change Your Air Filters Early and Often

No matter what type of air filter you buy it will come with a recommended time frame for replacement, and you should not ignore these guidelines. Poorly functioning air filters will put you, your family and your HVAC equipment at risk, and since changing filters is a breeze you really have no excuse to let things slide.

If you’d like some advice on how to choose the correct air filter please give us a call at Fire and Ice HVAC, Inc., we would be happy to offer our expert assistance.

Continue to follow the Fire and Ice blog for all the hottest takes and coolest insights about heating, air conditioning and indoor air quality management.