The air filter is an important part of your home’s heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system. Located near the furnace or blower, it’s designed to remove particulate matter from the air. Before entering the ductwork, air must pass through the filter. The job of the air filter is to remove dust and other forms of particulate matter. There are several myths about air filters, however, that you shouldn’t believe.
#1) Only Affect Air Quality
Air filters affect more than just the quality of air in a home; they affect the performance of the home’s HVAC system. A dirty air filter will restrict airflow. If you neglect to change your home’s HVAC air filter for an extended period, your HVAC system will have to work harder. It will run for a longer period while attempting to achieve the temperature set on the thermostat.
#2) One Size Fits All
When shopping for a new air filter, you’ll need to choose the right size. Air filters aren’t one size fits all. Some of them are bigger than others. When choosing a new air filter, check the length, width and thickness. Most air filters feature these three measurements. You’ll need to choose a new air filter in the right size for your HVAC system.
#3) Higher MERV Rating Is Better Than a Low MERV Rating
Air filters have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. Developed in the 1980s by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), it represents how effective an air filter is at removing small particles. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the air filter can remove. The problem with a high MERV rating, though, is that it restricts airflow. Less air will pass through a high-MERV air filter.
#4) Only Remove Dust
Another common myth is that air filters only remove dust. The truth is that they can remove all types of airborne particulate matter. In addition to dust, air filters remove dander, pollen, bacteria, viruses and even mold spores.
#5) The Direction Doesn’t Matter
The direction in which you install the air filter absolutely matters. Most air filters aren’t omnidirectional. Rather, they are designed to face a specific direction when installed. You can refer to the arrow displayed on the side of the air filter to determine the appropriate direction. This arrow indicates airflow, and you should use it to determine the appropriate direction for installation.