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HVAC filters are essential for improving system efficiency and ensuring healthy indoor air, but they don’t last forever. If you’ve never replaced the filter for your Orlando, Florida, HVAC system, take the time to brush up on your knowledge. From the timing to the specs, here’s how to choose the right HVAC filter.

Know How Often to Replace the Filter

First, you need to know how often to replace your HVAC filter. Replacing it too often can lead to unnecessary expenses, and waiting too long to change the filter can cause it to become clogged, leading to airflow issues and indoor air quality problems.

At E.C. Waters Air Conditioning & Heat, we typically recommend that you replace your filter every 30 days during the summer months and other times of heavy use. During the winter and more moderate seasons, replacing it every 90 days is sufficient.

Decide on the Right Filter Type

Next, it’s essential to choose the right type of filter. Some homeowners opt for washable filters, which require regular cleaning and drying sessions. These filters may seem more eco-friendly, but they don’t offer as much of an efficiency boost or protection against indoor air quality issues. That’s why our team recommends using disposable filters instead.

You can purchase disposable filters in home goods stores or online, but always make sure to purchase a filter with pleats. Since pleated filters have much more surface area than non-pleated versions, they can capture many more pollutants and help keep your indoor air clean.

Check the Filter Size

Choosing a properly sized filter is important when purchasing a replacement. A filter that’s too large won’t fit in the allotted space, and one that’s too small will allow unfiltered air to pass through, reducing the benefits that a filter should offer.

If you’re replacing an existing filter, check the measurements on the old filter. Be sure to choose a new one that matches the height, width, and depth for an optimal fit. If you aren’t sure of the size, simply measure the space where the filter fits and shop for an option with those measurements.

Understand the Filter Ratings

Along with the measurements, you’ll also notice that every HVAC filter has a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. These ratings can range from one to 20, but most residential HVAC systems require filters with MERV ratings within a narrow range.

In most cases, filters with MERV ratings between one and eight don’t filter enough particles from your home’s air supply. That can translate to poor indoor air quality and reduced HVAC efficiency over time. In contrast, filters with MERV ratings between 13 and 20 offer excellent filtration, but they’re typically designed for commercial and industrial systems. That means using these filters can compromise air pressure and contribute to poor HVAC efficiency.

Instead, opt for an HVAC filter with a MERV rating between nine and 12. These filters are designed for residential use and can balance high-level filtration with superior efficiency.

Recognize When You Need an Air Cleaner

Even when you replace your air filter regularly and choose the right model for your system, it may not remove enough of the airborne contaminants in your home. If your family members suffer from allergies or asthma, you may need a stronger solution that can remove even more pollutants from your home’s air supply.

If a standard air filter doesn’t cut it, talk with our team about what a Trane CleanEffects air cleaner can do for your home. It’s designed to capture a long list of contaminants in your home’s air supply, including dust, pet dander, pollen, mildew, and fungus. It can even capture tobacco smoke, cooking smells, and bacteria for odor-free air. This whole-house air purifier works with your HVAC system to remove up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles, leaving your HVAC system squeaky clean and helping your family breathe easy.

From air filter replacements and HVAC maintenance to new installations and system repairs, we do it all. Call E.C. Waters Air Conditioning & Heat for all your HVAC needs.