The cost of energy is constantly on the rise and we try to save money any way we can. Heating and cooling costs make up about 50% of our energy bills. Changing you HVAC filter can improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment by 5% to 15%. Manufactures have created new products that have not only improved indoor air quality (IAQ), but have also reduced the cost of installing and operating air-filtration equipment in commercial and industrial facilities.
Importance of Air Filters in Your Home
Air filters are essentially porous membranes that allow air to flow through them making them fairly simple. When you want to change the temperature in your home your HVAC system will suck air from a room, pull it over coils to heat or cool the air, then blow the tempered air through ducts to the rooms in your home. The air filter is stationed at the point where air is pulled into the system – and traps air-born particles that get sucked in with the air and keeps them from blocking the blower and clogging the coils. Clogged coils cannot heat or cool the air passing over them giving the air filter an important role in your HVAC system, keeping it running efficiently and protects it so it will last longer. Filters are designed to remove particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, plant and mold spores, and even smoke from the air in your home. All filters cause some pressure loss as air flows across the filter media. The longer it’s in use, the greater the pressure loss because buildup on the filter reduces airflow pathways. This happens because the pressure loss can increase energy demand causing the fans that move air through the system to work harder.
Types of Air Filters for HVAC Systems
Fiberglass filters are throwaway filters and are the most common type. They are made of layered fiberglass fibers laid over each other to form the filter media and are typically reinforced with metal grating that supports the fiberglass to prevent failure and collapse. Polyester and pleated filters are similar to fiberglass filters but typically have a higher resistance to airflow and a superior dust-stopping ability. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters filter the air passing through them at a very fine scale. Washable air filters are not as common.
How Often Should Your Change Your Air Filter at Home?
Most people change their filters at the start of a new season, when they know the equipment will be working the hardest. In very warm summers or cold winters, the filters are going to need changing more often. A good rule of thumb is to check them monthly. Each filter has a different lifespan that will determine how often to change it. Factors that determine when you should change them depend on the filter itself and the environment in your home. If there are allergy sufferers in the home and/or pets, then there will be more frequent changes of filters. More people living in a home equals more dust and dirt flying around and areas with high construction or pollution will also need more changes.