No one looks forward to the dog days of summer, when the heat and humidity join forces to make it nearly intolerable to be outdoors. Seeking refuge indoors for those few months can help, but did you know that often, your home’s indoor air quality can cause health issues for you and your loved ones? However, if you perform routine filter maintenance, you can keep your home’s indoor air quality high, and ensure that your cooling system runs efficiently.
Clean filters are your first defense against high electric bills and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance expenses. When dust and dirt collect on your home’s filters, the passage of air through the air handler slows, which raises your electric bills because it’s working harder to maintain a steady temperature. Additionally, when dust builds on the evaporator coil, and the Kansas City humidity strikes, the coil can freeze. However, your outdoor compressor continues to run (which increases your energy consumption), so the frost on the coil will melt. This can overwhelm your system’s drain pan, and potentially result in water damage.
A helpful way to remember to check your filters is to do it on the day that you receive your monthly electric bill. You can perform routine filter maintenance by looking at the filter to see if it’s dirty. Additionally, pull it out, and hold it up to the light. This enables you to see if clogs are forming.
You might not need to change your filters every month, but you should change them every six to eight weeks. How often you change them depends on a few variables, including how much your run your HVAC system, and the type of filters that you use. The more that you run your system, the more air that is flowing through your ductwork. This means that your filters are trapping more particulates from that airflow.
Another helpful tip to make routine filter maintenance a snap is to have spare filters on hand. This will save you time and potentially money, if you can purchase value packs of your desired filters.
Higher density air filters capture more particulates and may need more frequent cleaning or changing. Filters have MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings that describe their efficiency, and which range from one to 16. Higher ratings indicate that a filter traps smaller particles, which increases your system’s efficiency and provides more thorough cleaning of your indoor air. However, check your HVAC system’s specifications for the proper MERV rating to select. If you select too dense of a filter, you risk slowing airflow, which raises your energy bills and increases wear and tear on your system.
If you’d like to learn more about routine filter maintenance and the maximum MERV rating for your HVAC system, contact the professionals at Overland Park Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services for residential and commercial customers in the Kansas City region since 1983.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about routine filter maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.