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How to Change Your HVAC Air Filter

The HVAC air filter is critical for preventing dust from settling on delicate system components where it could potentially cause damage. A filter with a higher efficiency rating removes even smaller airborne particles to clean your indoor air.

As your HVAC filter traps pollutants, it starts to become dirty and clogged. This blocks airflow, reducing efficiency and possibly causing the system to overheat. To prolong the lifespan of your furnace or air conditioner, change the air filter every one to three months or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Not sure how to change your HVAC air filter? Follow these tips.

Choose the Right Air Filter

The easiest way to tell the different filters apart is to compare the MERV rating.

  • MERV 1 – 4 is the simplest option. These are one-inch disposable filters made of biodegradable paper or a similar material.
  • MERV 5 – 8 includes pleated filters that provide a bit more filtration power. Some may have an electrostatic charge to help collect smaller particles without restricting airflow.
  • MERV 9 – 12 describes wider pleated filters with more superior filtration capabilities.
  • MERV 13 – 16 includes electronic air cleaners designed for people with sensitive respiratory systems.

In most cases, your best option is to choose a mid-efficiency filter in the MERV 5 – 12 range. This results in above-average filtration without straining your HVAC equipment.

Change the Air Filter When Needed

With the right replacement filter in hand, it’s time to change out your old one. Follow these steps for the best success:

  • Turn off the HVAC system.
  • Find the air filter slot and open the door.
  • Remove the old filter and wipe up residual dust with a damp rag.
  • Take the air filter out of the package and inspect it for damage.
  • Follow the directions printed on the filter to ensure you install it the right way (many will have an arrow).
  • Once installed, make sure there are no gaps around the filter frame. This could mean you purchased the wrong size.
  • Secure any levers, gaskets, or seals that hold the filter in place.
  • Turn the HVAC system back on and observe the filter for a moment to make sure it stays in place securely.

Schedule HVAC Services in New Jersey

If you notice a problem with your HVAC system while replacing the air filter—such as bent fins, excessive dust buildup, or moisture intrusion—contact Arctic Air Conditioning, and we’ll come take a look.

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