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Does Your Air Filter Need Changing?

Most people don’t give their air filter a second thought. But maintaining your heating unit or air handler’s air filter is crucial to your indoor air quality, as well as improving the longevity of your heating and cooling system.

What Type of Air Filter?

Your best bet is never to use a cheap fiberglass air filter in your heating and cooling systemThe type of air filter you install will have a huge impact on indoor air quality. The least expensive air filters are usually made of a loose fiberglass mesh, are about an inch thick and cost around a dollar or two each.  While they’ll protect your furnace from larger particles, they don’t do much towards protecting your lungs from tiny particles.

When to Change Your Air Filter

How often you change your air filter will depend on many factors, including the type of filter you’re using and the amount of contaminants (dust, dirt, cooking fumes, smoke) your home generates. Checking your air filter at least once a month is a good habit to get into. If it’s visibly dirty or dark, it’s time for a change. If you have a professionally installed air filtration system, have it maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

A High Efficiency Air Filter

A carbon clean air filter with a MERV rating of 16 is idea, although a bit more expensive to purchase.Those cheap one-inch fiberglass filters may not provide enough filtration to affect the quality of your air. Instead, consider a pleated, high-efficiency air filter like the Carbon Clean 16 filter which has a MERV 16 rating to achieve the highest possible filtration efficiency. While a more expensive option, it will do a better job of capturing the contaminants that would otherwise circulate in your home.

Use the Correct Size Air Filter

Using a filter that is too small will allow dirty air to pass around it. A filter that’s too big will not fit properly in your system. Make sure you’re using the right size for your heating and cooling system. You can verify size either by checking the size of the old filter you’re changing out, or by checking the owner’s manual of your heating and cooling system.

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Control Sources of Pollutants
  • Make sure no one smokes in your house.
  • Clean regularly to get rid of dust mites, which can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly in children. You can minimize the problem by installing a whole-home filtration system with a MERV 16 rating, the highest capture efficiency among air cleaners.
  • Make sure anything that burns gas is vented to the outdoors. Never burn a ventless fire.
  • Avoid using scented candles or aerosol sprays to control odors. Try to find out what’s causing the odor and eliminate it, rather than covering it up.
  • Use cleaning supplies, paints and hobby products that are labeled as low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound), which means they are safer for your house and the environment. If you have concerns about chemical vapors, install an air purification system.
  • Avoid air-quality products that produce ozone, a known lung irritant.

If you have a question about heating, air conditioning, plumbing, or any other home energy related topic, please use the comment link below to contact Brown and Reaves Services in Myrtle Beach. We’ll answer you back, or may even write our next post to cover your question and answer.

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Now is the time to get your heating system ready for those cool days and night ahead. Give us a call. We service the entire Grand Strand area, in and around Myrtle Beach. 843-497-9867. Or CONTACT US HERE.

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