An air filter is one of the most important parts of a home’s HVAC system, which means that it is one of the most important parts of the home in general. That means an air filter is something that every home needs to have. However, at some point an air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced and that may have some homeowners wondering if they can do it themselves or if they need to hire a professional to do it for them.
Fortunately, an air filter can be installed by any layperson without the need for professional help. But in order to install an air filter, it needs to be purchased first and that can be done by visiting either an online retailer or a brick and mortar store. Air filters are reasonably priced and you can get one for as little as $60.
Installing an Air Filter
There are two types of air filters available, disposable filters and washable filters. The explanation of each type is self explanatory; a disposable filter is discarded and replaced once it gets too dirty while a washable filter is cleaned when it gets to that point. Regardless of which type of filter is being used, the installation process is the same.
- Find the vent containing the air filter. It should be easily accessible and located in a large room or hallway on the ground floor.
- Turn off the HVAC system.
- Open the vent and remove the filter.
- Clean the filter if it is washable or replace it if it is disposable.
- Place the new or cleaned filter into the vent, making sure that it is facing the right way.
- Close the vent and turn the HVAC system on again.
Naturally this process is easier with a disposable filter, but cleaning a washable filter is not especially complicated, not to mention that a washable filter can save you money in the long run. Note that the only time the filter needs to be installed is when it has to be cleaned or replaced since homes tend to have an air filter installed when they are brand new.
Choosing an Air Filter
Even though most homes tend to have an air filter pre-installed, sometimes you may need to get a new one. If that is the case, then there are a few things that you need to consider when choosing one. The MERV rating is one of the factors to think about. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and shows you how effective the filter is at removing particles from the air; the higher the rating, the better the filter. Ratings go from 1 to 16 and most homes have a filter in the 8 to 10 range. However, if someone in the home needs extra protection because they have respiratory problems or have a compromised immune system, then a filter in the 10 to 12 range would be more appropriate. That is because they filter out a wider variety of particles and thus keep the air cleaner than lower rated filters do.
One way to ensure that you are getting a filter that can remove most particles and pollutants is to get a HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air) filter. They are special filters designed to trap even microscopic particles. However, you need to make sure that your HVAC system can handle HEPA filters because they are more tightly woven than regular filters, which means that the fan has to work harder to push air through them. If the HVAC system cannot handle HEPA filters, then that could lead to higher energy bills and a possibility that the system could get broken and require expensive repairs.
Make Sure to Install the Right Air Filters
It is easy to install an air filter so the problem is not about having to install the air filter, it is choosing which type of filter to install. The choice between a disposable or washable filter is one decision to make and will come down to the convenience of disposable filters or the cost-saving of washable filters. The MERV rating is another consideration because a home where any of the inhabitants have respiratory or immune system problems may need higher rated or HEPA filters. Once you make the decision that is right for your home, installing the air filter will be a breeze.