Are You Using the Wrong Air Filter for Your HVAC Unit?

The air filter is an important part of your HVAC unit’s performance. The wrong air filter reduces operational efficiency and indoor air quality. Don’t settle for higher energy costs or negative health effects. Instead, take the time to get it right by ensuring your HVAC unit has the correct parts to run properly.

Local Jacksonville AC repair companies, like J&W Heating and Air, offer expert advice on how to keep your unit running well. Plus, invest in a preventative maintenance program to maximize your unit’s performance. Bi-annual maintenance usually includes cleaning or changing the air filter. Your AC repair company can provide the information you need to select the best air filter for your HVAC unit.

Important Role of the Air Filter

The air filter is a critical part of your HVAC system, which means using the wrong air filter impacts its ability to run well. The role of the air filter is to clean the air passing through your HVAC unit before it exits into your home through the ventilation system. An air filter traps dust and irritants, like smoke, mold spores, pollen, dirt, pet dander, and bacteria.

If you’re using the wrong air filter, it may not be able to trap these unwanted irritants, and your home’s air quality will be negatively impacted. Poor air quality is dangerous for your family’s health. In fact, poor air quality leads to health issues like headaches, allergies, asthma, respiratory disease, and even heart disease. Don’t let something as simple as the wrong air filter impact your family’s health.

The air filter also helps your HVAC unit work efficiently to heat or cool your home. This means that less energy is needed to keep your home at the ideal temperature. If your air filter is clogged or the wrong fit or type, the HVAC unit must work harder to push air through. When your unit runs more it not only increases monthly energy costs but also can shorten the life of your unit.

What is a MERV Rating?

One piece of information to understand before you tackle buying the correct air filter is MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is an air filter rating system used to rank the level of efficiency each air filter has for trapping airborne particles. The scale runs from one to 16 with higher values representing better efficiency.

However, not every system works well with a higher MERV-rated air filter. If your HVAC unit isn’t built to push air through the more efficient air filter, it can actually require your unit to work harder and increase your energy costs. Contact J&W Heating and Air, your Jacksonville AC repair company, to discuss the best MERV rating for your unit.

Types of Air Filters

Air filters come in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, materials, and prices. Air filters are available in four basic categories. However, within each category, there are still variables.

1 – Pleated Air Filters

Pleated air filters are designed as their name indicates, with pleats or folds. The pleats in these air filters work well to trap unwanted particles in the air. The benefits of pleated air filters are increased efficiency at cleaning the air and a longer lifespan than fiberglass filters. However, pleated filters cost more upfront. Overall, the construction of pleated air filters exceeds that of fiberglass.

2 – Fiberglass Air Filters

Fiberglass air filters are commonly used for home HVAC units due to their availability and affordability. Also, fiberglass filters are easy to install. However, you get what you pay for. Fiberglass filters don’t work as well to clean the air in your home, which means your indoor air quality will suffer. Also, fiberglass air filters don’t last as long, which requires you to change them more frequently.

3 – Electrostatic Air Filters

Electrostatic air filters work by using self-charging static to attract larger air particles like dust, pollen, and debris. However, they don’t work well to capture smaller particles like smoke. While allergy-prone households may benefit, the overall air quality in your home won’t be improved. Electrostatic filters last longer but cost more than either fiberglass or pleated air filters. Also, while electrostatic filters last longer, they do need to be removed and washed monthly. Overall, for most HVAC units and homes, an electrostatic air filter isn’t the desirable choice.

4 – HEPA Filters

HEPA filters use a fine mesh to filter unwanted particles from the air. HEPA filters are the most effective at trapping allergens and irritants to improve indoor air quality. However, they work too well, which means HEPA filters also restrict airflow from your HVAC unit. Your HVAC unit will have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature with a HEPA air filter. This will likely result in increased energy costs. While HEPA filters may be the best solution for highly sensitive individuals, for most homes it’s not worth the extra energy usage.

Get the Right Air Filter for Your Unit

In order for your home to have the air quality and energy efficiency you desire, start by investing in the right air filter for your HVAC unit. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the recommended air filter. Also, Jacksonville AC repair companies have the knowledge and experience to recommend the best air filter for your needs.

Contact J&W Heating and Air to schedule a consultation or maintenance. With over 60 years of serving clients in Jacksonville, we’re the AC repair company with the knowledge to best serve you.

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