How do I know what filter size I need?
Your filter size is typically written on the frame of your filter, so identifying the correct filter size you need is as simple as reading the frame of your current filter. If you don't have an old filter available, you can measure the dimensions of your return. It's also important to remember that the size of your old filter is what is known as the nominal size, and the actual size is often smaller. So you must account for this is you're measuring your vent.
What is the difference between nominal and actual size?
The nominal size is the size that is written on the side of your filter. It is usually a whole number for simplification purposes. The actual size is the precise size of the filter. If you're lucky, it will be written underneath the nominal size. It is almost always a fraction and is rounded to get the nominal size. 1" thick air filters are undercut but 1/4 inch in all three dimensions; whereas, 2" thick air filters are undercut but 1/2 inch on width and height and 1/4 inch on depth. Whole house filters vary by manufacturer and model, and since we have 66,000 different sizes, we have what you need.
Where are my air filters located?
Your filters could be located in several places within your home. Often, you can find them right in the wall behind a white or silver grate. Locate that grate, and you've located your filter. Increasingly, filters are being installed in the attic, removing that big ugly grate from your home, but making the filter harder to access. Occasionally, you'll find your filters in the ceiling. If you use a whole house filter, it will go right by your air handler in your HVAC closet, basement, or wherever it's located.
How will dirty air filters impact my HVAC system?
A dirty air filter is the #1 reason for HVAC failure. As an air filter fills up with particles and pollutants that it has pulled from your home, that buildup begins to decrease the amount of airflow allowed by the filter. As this increases, the HVAC motor has to work harder and harder to pull in air and can eventually be worked too hard and wear out. Regularly replacing your air filter will stop your HVAC from being forced to work harder than necessary.
Will regularly changing my home's air filters really help lower my energy bill?
Yes. By limiting the pressure on your HVAC motor by regularly changing your filter, you can see a lower power bill each month. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that regularly-scheduled air filter changes will save you 5-15% on your heating and cooling costs each month. For most homeowners, this is a savings of $12-$25 every single month.
How often should I change my air filters?
If you're using a standard 1" air filter, you should regularly replace your filter once every three months (at a minimum). Depending on certain factors, such as how many pets are in your household and how polluted the general area you live in is, it might be beneficial to change more frequently, such as every one to two months.
What is HVAC?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It refers to the systems and machines within a home, office, or indoor area that control the climate and temperature of the area. We have a whole blog that explains how HVAC works — we’re nerdy like that.
Will a higher MERV filter affect my air flow?
Air filtration level is inversely proportional to air flow. A MERV 13 filter is going to catch more particles than a MERV 8, but a MERV 8 is going to be less restrictive on air flow. This does not mean that your HVAC cannot handle a MERV 13 though. Today's HVAC systems are more advanced and not as susceptible to air flow issues as systems of the past, so while a higher rated filter will allow less air flow, that doesn't mean it will break down your system. In fact, a good air filter of MERV 8 or higher may keep you (and your HVAC system) healthier.
Are washable filters good for my A/C system?
Washable electrostatic filters are advertised as one individual filter that can last up to five years. It's not just plug-and-play though. Washable filters are high maintenance and require frequent washing and drying. They often have a low MERV rating, and charged particles that get by the filter can stick to A/C coils, resulting in harmful buildup.
What type of air filter should I order?
You should order a pleated air filter of at least MERV 8 quality. A MERV 8, such as our LiteAllergen, will remove significant amounts of primary pollutants such as dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria. If you're a pet owner, you may want to upgrade to MERV 11 option, as it collects pet dander. Allergy sufferers and homeowners that live in places with severe air pollution should look towards a MERV 13 option.
What are MERV, MPR, and FPR?
MERV stands for minimum efficiency report value, MPR stands for microparticle performance rating, and FPR stands for filter performance rating. All are rating systems for the quality of air filters. We at FilterEasy use MERV, as it is the official scale used by the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA).