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Originally published September 2016, updated May 2020.

Regularly replacing your air filter is an essential task if you want to keep your HVAC system operating efficiently. Minimize the local pollen and other allergens that can creep into your Buffalo Grove, Illinois, home by making sure your HVAC filter is always well-maintained. This begins with choosing the right product for your system and avoiding common mistakes in the selection process. Your HVAC filter should be replaced every 3 months or more frequently if your have furred pets in the house. The best way to know is to check your filter monthly.

Air Filter Problems with Poor Fit

Check the size of your existing air filter before you purchase a replacement. If you purchase a filter that’s too large, it won’t slide into the slot correctly. If the filter is too small, it won’t cover the entire space and may allow dust and dirt to flow past. If you’re not sure what size filter you need, check the manufacturer’s specifications or ask your HVAC technician for help choosing the right product.

Matter of Mesh

Air filters come with many different MERV ratings. A higher MERV rating indicates that the filter has a finer mesh and is capable of removing smaller particles from the air. However, you shouldn’t use a filter with a rating higher than what your unit is designed for. If the mesh is too fine, your HVAC system won’t have enough energy to pull air through it properly. This can cause serious damage to your air conditioner or furnace.

Washable vs. Disposable

Make sure your system is equipped to handle a washable filter, if you’re thinking of switching to this choice, and vice versa. If you have the option of using a washable or disposable filter, research both products carefully before you commit to one. Washable filters may eliminate the expense of regular replacements, but they cost more upfront and require a time-consuming wash instead of a fast swap.

If you want to learn more about how to properly maintain your HVAC system, contact Ireland Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help you schedule your annual maintenance visits and understand the DIY jobs you’re responsible for in between.

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