Somehow, changing the filter in your AC never rises to the top of the honey-do list. But you know that the condition of the AC filter affects how well your system is performing, right?
There are actually two issues: air flow and efficiency. Air being forced through a clogged filter will actually trap more particles. But it will also cause the system to work harder. Bottom line: A clean filter is the only way to go.
Size, Type, Brand, Etcetera
If you order your filters online from a site such as this http://www.comfortup.com, you can sort by price, brand name, MERV rating, or thickness. Ask your HVAC tech to recommend a filter, or just reorder the type that’s installed.
MERV, by the way, is a measurement of efficiency (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The higher the MERV number, the better the filtration— and the more energy needed to push air through it.
As in most things, price is an indicator of value. If you pay more for a filter that’s a pleated MERV-13— http://www.comfortup.com/comfortup-wp25s-022424-24-x-24-x-2-merv-13-pleated-hvac-filter-12-pack– you’ll get better filtration than if you buy a flat MERV 4. And of course, if you buy in volume, you’ll save money.
Make It a Regular Thing
Energy.gov recommends changing your filter (or cleaning it, it you have the washable type) once a month during the cooling season. If you have furry pets or you live in a dusty area, you might need to change it more often.
Even if you’ve never touched an AC before, this is easy. Watch your tech do it, or check out this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y0ektFBE_s. Keep a good supply of filters on hand so you don’t need to worry about running out.
We recommend jotting a note to yourself alongside those other reminders about getting the car tuned up or the dog’s rabies shots. It’s not a big deal. It won’t take but five minutes after you’ve done it once or twice. And it’s empowering! (Not to mention could save you money and headaches.)