A Closer Look at the Filter in Your Air Conditioning Unit - August 10th 2018
In the midst of yet another smoking hot summer in the southern interior of British Columbia, we at Interior Plumbing & Heating in Kamloops fully empathize with your efforts to stay cool! Residential and commercial air conditioning units are working hard around the clock to keep inside temperatures tolerable. Do not be alarmed if the temperature in your home creeps up a couple of degrees on a 40 degree day!
We would like to share some industry tips on how to keep your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit running as efficiently as possible to help you avoid equipment damage and of course, to continue breathing clean air. It can be easy to flip the AC on in the summer without giving much thought to what is going on behind the control panel. Let's take a closer look.
What is Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) Rating for Filters?
In short, filters with a high MERV rating will block smaller particles, which are measured in microns, than those with a low rating. Most commonly MERV ratings vary from 1 to 16 with the highest rated filters found in hospitals and other institutions that require minimal entry of airborne contaminants. Along with a high rating comes less air flow, a higher filter cost, increased energy use, and a need to change filters more frequently.
For residential purposes, unless you or a family member suffers from respiratory ailments or allergies, a filter with a MERV rating between 9 and 12 is sufficient. This rating will allow the smallest particles of dust and debris through, but will have better air flow and require fewer filter changes than higher rated ones. Having said that, the key to extending the life of your equipment is keeping up with basic maintenance, such as filter changes.
Generally, it is recommended that you check your HVAC filter every three months to see if it needs to be changed. Outside conditions have an impact on how often to check them. During the BC wildfire season in 2017 many people were changing their filters on a monthly basis. Other conditions that will shorten the lifetime of a filter include nearby construction, dry and dusty conditions, and a high number of people using the residence.
If you live near a nicely landscaped and temperate green space and/or keep a fairly clean house, you may require fewer filter changes. In all scenarios, it is best to check filters at least every three months and more often in extreme conditions such as those listed above. This basic maintenance will go a long way toward protecting your equipment and ensuring that your AC keeps you cool through the hot summer days and nights! Beyond filter changes, Interior Plumbing & Heating can help with regular maintenance of your HVAC system.
Interior Plumbing & Heating has offered full residential plumbing and heating services to Kamloops and the Interior of British Columbia since 1949! We are family-owned, locally independent, and "we pride ourselves in our professional service and value - we will do whatever it takes to deliver the value you expect - to your satisfaction." Please contact us to let us know how we can be of service with your plumbing and heating needs.