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Every Highland Park, Illinois, resident knows the importance of a functional HVAC system in his or her home. Without it, you’d be subject to the fluctuating climate conditions that occur between the four seasons. Your home’s HVAC system relies on an important component to maintain the quality of the air you breathe. The filter is a critical part of your heating and cooling system, so it’s important to understand what it does for the airflow in your home.

Function of a Filter

When your HVAC system runs, it pulls air from all the rooms in the house and moves it through the return air ducts. From the ducts, the air moves into the heating unit or the air conditioning unit to be warmed or cooled. In the AC unit, excessive moisture will also be removed to prevent a muggy atmosphere.

Before entering the heating or cooling chamber, the air moves through a filter that prevents small particles from entering. These contaminants include dust, dirt, pollen, biological growth spores, fibers, lint, particles of metal, wood, or plaster, as well as animal dander, hair, and microorganisms.

Efficiency Ratings

Every HVAC filter has an efficiency rating, often referred to as a MERV rating. This acronym stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it indicates how well the filter is able to remove and block smaller particles. The rating scale is between one and 16, with 16 being the highest possible efficiency rating.

Filters with higher MERV ratings are more expensive, but they can provide more efficiency when cleaning your indoor air. Choosing a filter with a high rating can be especially beneficial if anyone in your home suffers from allergies. However, the manufacturer specifies the highest rated filter that can be used in your system. Using a higher-rated filter may cause damage due to restricted air flow, so always use what is recommended.

How Often to Change the Filter

Your HVAC filter needs to be changed regularly, although the timing of the replacement varies by model. Some of the newer, more efficient HVAC units have heavy-duty filters that can last up to six months. A standard filter should typically be replaced every month or two.

At Ireland Heating & Air Conditioning Co., we offer a variety of HVAC maintenance tasks, including filter replacement services, so contact us for more information at 847-388-0108.

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