Maintaining a comfortable living space without incurring ridiculous energy bills is every homeowner’s goal. An effective way to achieve this is by giving the furnace filters the attention they deserve. Read on for four easy ways to get the most out of your air filters.
- Determine what type of filter your home needs
You need to invest in a 16x20x1 furnace filter with an optimal MERV rating to get excellent indoor air quality. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating indicates how many particles the filter can trap based on their sizes. The higher the MERV rating, the more and finer the particles it can trap. To choose a filter that meets your needs, consider the following characteristics:
- MERV 1-4: Filters in this range are often the cheapest and can trap dust particles. However, they do little in improving your space’s indoor quality
- MERV 5-8: This is the optimal range for most homes and is excellent at trapping dust and smaller particles that can result in allergies
- MERV 9-12: Filters in this range are excellent for homes with multiple pets or when you have severe allergies
- MERV 13-16: A filter in this range traps gasses, bacteria, pollutants, and viruses. It is often used in healthcare facilities or commercial settings
- Set reminders to change or clean the filters
A clogged air filter makes your HVAC system work harder than it should, increasing your energy bills and potentially causing the system to break down. You should replace or clean filters with MERV 1-4 ratings every three months, MERV 5-8 every two months, and monthly for MERV eight and higher. Here are some tips to ascertain that you do not forget to change or clean the filters:
- Create automatic reminders on your smartphone
- Indicate the date you have replaced at the edge of the filter
- Create events in the calendar for approximated change dates
- Keep the thermostat set on AUTO
You should always set your thermostat on AUTO instead of ON. When the thermostat is set to ON, the air conditioner blower runs 24/7 even when the HVAC is not in a cooling cycle. The blower sucks warm air into the HVAC unit then passes through the filter where pollutants are trapped. When the blower is constantly sucking the warm, dirty air, the air filters clog much faster. Setting the thermostat on AUTO means that the fan will only activate when the HVAC system runs. This optimizes air filtration while reducing strain on your furnace filters, leading to lower energy consumption.
- Get regular professional maintenance
Be sure to schedule regular professional maintenance to ascertain that your furnace filters provide optimal filtration. A contractor can change or clean your filters during a maintenance visit at no extra charges, which helps improve the indoor quality. Contact a professional when you notice:
- System leaks
- Increased energy bills
- An unusual smell from the AC
- Strange noise from the HVAC unit
While furnace filter maintenance is often overlooked and forgotten, it is the easiest way to reduce utility bills, improve indoor air quality, and prolong the life of your HVAC unit. Implement the above strategies to get the most out of your air filters.