Did You Know Your New Mexico Home Has An Air Filter?
Albuquerque Homes & Rio Rancho Homes Need Their Air Filter Replaced Periodically. Did you know you Albuquerque Homes and Rio Rancho homes have at least one air filter that needs to be replaced periodically? Your home will have at least one filter and may have several filters throughout your home. If you have a regular central forced heater, there will typically be a filter located right above or below the heater. If you have a refrigerated air conditioning unit, there may be a filter located on the refrigerated air conditioning unit. There may also be air filters located at one or more return air grills throughout the house. Depending on your lifestyle and whether you have pets will determine how often your air filter should be replaced. Filters should be changed out a minimum of twice per year and some lifestyles and equipment will require filters to be replaced three or four times per year. The best way to determine how often to change out your homes filters is to check them periodically and replace them when the filter is dirty. After a few replacements you will be able to set up a regular schedule to replace your homes air filters.
Protection of your heating and air conditioning unit equipment to insure proper operation and extend the life of this equipment is the most important function of an air filter. The secondary purpose of an air filter is to exchange circulating air with cleaner air after passing through the filter.
Most air filters are good at capturing larger airborne particles, such as dust, pollen, dust mite and cockroach allergens, some molds, and animal dander. However, because these particles settle rather quickly, air filters are not very good at removing them completely from indoor areas. Although human activities such as walking and vacuuming can stir up particles, most of the larger particles will resettle before an air filter can remove them.
You can select a particle removal air filter by looking at its efficiency in removing airborne particles from the air stream that passes through it. This efficiency is measured by the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) for air filters installed in the ductwork of HVAC systems. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE developed this measurement method. MERV ratings ranges from a low of 1 to a high of 20 allow comparison of air filters made by different companies.
Flat or panel air filters with a MERV of 1 to 4 are commonly used in residential furnaces and air conditioners. For the most part these filters are used to protect the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on the surfaces such as fan motors and heating or cooling coils, and not for direct indoor air quality reasons. They have low efficiency on smaller airborne particles and medium efficiency on larger particles, as long as they remain airborne and pass through the filter. Some smaller particles found within a house include viruses, bacteria, some mold spores, a significant fraction of cat and dog allergens, and a small portion of dust mite allergens.
Pleated or extended surface filters with a MERV of 5 to 13 are reasonably efficient at removing small to large airborne particles. Filters with a MERV between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles. Medium efficiency air filters are generally less expensive than HEPA filters, and allow quieter HVAC fan operation and higher airflow rates than HEPA filters since they have less airflow resistance.
Higher efficiency filters with a MERV of 14 to 16, sometimes misidentified as HEPA filters, are similar in appearance to true HEPA filters, which have MERV values of 17 to 20. True HEPA filters are normally not installed in residential HVAC systems; installation of a HEPA filter in an existing HVAC system would probably require professional modification of the system. A typical residential air handling unit and the associated ductwork would not be able to accommodate such filters because of their physical dimensions and increase in airflow resistance.
Some residential HVAC systems may not have enough fan or motor capacity to accommodate higher efficiency filters. Therefore, the HVAC manufacturer’s information should be checked prior to upgrading filters to determine whether it is feasible to use more efficient filters. Specially built high performance homes may occasionally be equipped with true HEPA filters installed in a properly designed HVAC system.
We have a lot of dust blowing through our New Mexico area during the windy times of the year and all this dust will create problems for your heating and air conditioning equipment and for the air quality in your home. Follow these steps to maintain your equipment and improve the air quality in your home.
Step one is to find all of the air filters in your home.
Step two is to determine the best air filter for your needs. Check your equipment maintenance manual to insure you do not choose a filter that will cause too much air resistance for the equipment. It is important to recognize that a filter that restricts air flow will damage your heating and air conditioning equipment. You can also check with your filter supplier and get their advice on the proper air filter.
Step three is to monitor your filters and determine how long they will last before they need replacement.
Step four is to set up a regular schedule and replace your filter(s) on that schedule.