How Does an HVAC Air Filter Work?

The HVAC air filter is an essential component of any heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. It works by trapping particles and contaminants such as dust, mold, pet dander, and fungal spores as air passes through the fan and is then expelled through the ducts. The filter material, usually cloth or pleated paper, captures these particles before they can build up or interfere with the system's operation. In addition, filters also improve air quality by trapping these particles and preventing them from entering the home.

The air filter is typically located in a compartment of the HVAC system. As air passes through the filter, the mesh that gives the filter its name becomes denser, trapping particles and allowing air to flow freely. The quality and quantity of the filter medium influence the size of the air particles that can be captured, the way they are captured, and the air flow through the system. The MERV rating of an air filter indicates how well it will remove material from the air.

Standard MERV values range from 1 to 16, with higher numbers indicating a more effective filter. Air filters with a MERV rating of 14 or higher capture more particles but also restrict air flow more and clog up more quickly. It's important to change your air filter regularly to ensure that it is working properly. Generally speaking, you should change your home's air filter every three months.

However, this may vary depending on your environment and usage. For example, hospitals and surgical centers may require HVAC filters to be changed every one to two months for best results. If you don't change your air filter as often as you should, air won't be able to pass through as easily and more and more details have the possibility of getting through the mesh, which impairs indoor air quality. Beyond those guidelines, there are some signs you should pay attention to that sign that it's time to change your home's air filter.

These include reduced airflow from vents, increased dust in your home, or a noticeable decrease in energy efficiency. For more information on how to use electrostatic air filters to keep the air circulating in your home clean, contact Next Level HVAC today at 707-228-9921. When your air filter can no longer do its job, use this step-by-step guide to replace the air filter if you've never done it before.