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Air Filters: How Often to Change, and Other Things You Need to Know

Air Filters: How Often to Change, and Other Things You Need to KnowBesides annual preventive maintenance, replacing the dirty air filter in your air conditioner this summer is the best way to keep cooling costs down, improve your indoor air quality and ensure your air conditioner works efficiently for the duration of the Calgary cooling season. Depending on the quality of your air filter, you may need to change it monthly or only every few months. HVAC professionals recommend checking your filter every month to ensure optimum air flow and air cleaning.

Choosing an air filter
Air filters vary in air cleaning capabilities. The MERV scale, short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, tells you how many particles of varying sizes will be trapped by your filter.

  • MERV 1-4 filters don’t improve your air quality and trap only the largest particles that enter your system.
  • MERV 5-8 filters are a common choice for homeowners who are looking for decent quality at a lower price. These filters catch particles as small as 3 microns.
  • MERV 9-12 filters are a good choice for those who suffer from respiratory conditions such as COPD, allergies and asthma. These filters catch particles as small as 1 micron.
  • MERV 13-16 filters, generally used in manufacturing operations, and MERV 17-20 HEPA filters, generally used in hospitals, won’t work in residential HVAC systems without considerable modifications.

Check the specs of your air conditioner before upgrading your filter. It’s essential to balance air flow and air cleaning when choosing a new filter.

Disposable or Washable?
Washable filters last several years and reduce waste, but aren’t as effective as disposable filters in preventing dust buildup and improving your indoor air quality. They also lose some efficiency over time.

Changing your air filter
Your air filter is located in your blower compartment. The filter should fit snugly, but should slip in and out easily. Insert a new filter so that the arrows on the filter’s frame point in the direction of the air flow.

For more expert advice about choosing and replacing air filters, please feel free to contact us at Arpi’s Industries, Ltd., keeping Calgary residents comfortable year-round for more than 50 years.

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