For many homeowners, replacing the air filter every few months is a simple DIY job. But just because it’s a simple task doesn’t mean it’s easy to remember. It’s important to replace your air filter early and often to prevent costly repairs and a home that won’t cool down or heat up when you need it. And knowing what air filter to choose can be difficult with so many options out there. Here are five questions you can ask yourself when making a decision on the best air filter for your home.
What feels right for my home?
First and foremost, the best air filter for your home is the one that’s right for you and your family. If you feel like the air is clean enough already with a simple, inexpensive filter then go with that. If you feel like the air is a bit stuffy, you might need an air filter that’s a bit stronger or you may need to change it out more frequently. But if you’re generally comfortable, continue to stick with what works.
Do I need to keep any health concerns in mind?
It’s important to keep in mind any health issues you or your family may be dealing with. Does anyone in your home have allergies? Does mold contribute to any sickness in warm months? Do you need to keep pollen out no matter what? That will help you decide between an air filter that specializes in trapping mold spores and pollen or free you up to purchase a general air filter that could be less expensive.
Will these air filters work with my current HVAC system?
When trying to determine what air filter will work best, start by cross-checking an old filter with the specifications of your current HVAC system. This will help you determine the basics of the air filter like size, brand, and more. But the quality of air filters varies greatly by its MERV scale rating, which measures the filter’s ability to remove pollutants from your home’s air and keep your home clean. The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 20, with lower ratings indicating a lower-quality filter.
How can I stay energy-efficient?
If your home contains a high level of air pollutants—like pet dander, dust mites, and pollen—it would make sense for you to choose a more restrictive air filter that can keep the air in your home clean. The trade-off is that a more restrictive air filter puts a greater strain on your HVAC, forcing it to work harder and decreasing its efficiency, which could lead to costly repairs.
How difficult is it to replace these air filters in the future?
If you’re good at remembering to change your air filters, it might make sense to transition to a washable air filter. You’ll need to remember to wash them once per month, or as often as the manufacturer recommends. The filter’s longevity varies from one model to the next, but all of them last longer than the disposable versions.
In addition to saving time, washable air filters can also save money. Although they cost more upfront, you don’t have to continually replace them. The total cost of ownership is often less than for disposable air filters. Also, since you don’t throw them out every few weeks or months, washable filters benefit the environment.
But if you’ve forgotten to change your air filters in the past, it might make sense to use air filters that only require replacement or cleaning once or twice per year. And don’t forget- you can always contact the pros at Ocean State to set you up with a bi-annual inspection which includes a filter change on each visit!