man replacing air filter

Are You Making One of These HVAC Filter Mistakes?

The air filter is the unsung hero in your central heating and cooling system. It protects the machinery from extensive dust buildup that would otherwise rapidly decrease your system’s efficiency—leading to a shorter equipment lifespan and increased breakdowns.

Unfortunately, the same air filter that protects your HVAC system can also cause major problems. To avoid these issues, make sure you don’t make the following HVAC air filter mistakes.

1. Leaving the Same Air Filter In Way Too Long

Whether your air filter is one you can clean or one you need to replace, you never want to let it get clogged with dust. Once dust blankets your air filter, air will struggle to pass through and circulate through your HVAC system.

A lack of airflow will make your system’s performance go downhill fast and can also make the equipment overheat and shut down. At worst, your system can suffer permanent damage from overheating and require a complete replacement.

2. Choosing a Filter That’s the Wrong Size

It’s never a good idea to guess what size filter your system needs. If you’re not sure which size to buy, you can:

  • Check the owner’s manual.
  • Find the model and serial number on your equipment, and use that information to look up your system online. From there, you can search for the filter size your system requires.
  • Contact the manufacturer.

If you select a filter that’s too small, it will allow dust, hair, dirt, and other airborne particles into your system.

3. Choosing a Filter That Doesn’t Let Your System Breathe

Air filters have efficiency ratings to let you know their particle-capturing capabilities. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERVs, is the most common rating system. It uses numbers 1 through 20 to demonstrate filtration ability, 1 providing the least and 20 providing the most. While you may want a filter with an extremely high MERV to trap as many particles as possible, your system might not get enough airflow through that “heavy-duty” of a filter.

Many people have seen the EPA’s report that filters with MERV-13 can trap virus-sized particles. While this definitely is not the highest MERV on the market, make sure to check your owner’s manual before stocking up on MERV-13 air filters, especially if you own an older system.

You never want to put in an air filter with a higher efficiency rating than your system can handle. Similar to a dust-clogged filter, this can lead to overheating and efficiency issues.

At Tom's Mechanical, Inc., we provide superb HVAC repairs, installations, and maintenance throughout Arlington and the surrounding areas. Schedule your service with us today by calling (972) 388-3669.

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