A Guide to Replace Your Air Filter

Learning how to replace your air filter for your air conditioning system is one of the most important maintenance tasks you should know about as a homeowner. The purpose of an air filter is to collect particles like dust, pet hair, and other kinds of air pollutants to keep the air conditioning system and the air you breathe clean.

Why Replace Your Air Filter?

When you replace your air filter two things happen. First, you give proper maintenance to your air conditioning system. If an air filter is not replaced, the filter itself start increasing the resistance of the air flow in the system. In other words, the dirtier the filter is, the less air flows through it, which means the air handler works harder for longer in order to reach the temperature you would like to “feel”.

And this, of course, means more money in the electrical bill. The second thing that happens is with a new filter is that your air quality improves. When you replace your air filter, you are essentially removing all the pollutants you collected during the time the filter was installed.

How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filter?

How often you replace your air filter depends on a few factors like how often you use the air conditioning system and if any pets are present in the house. Some filter manufacturers claim that you should replace your air filter once every 90 days, but that is a recommendation nation-wide.

Down here in South Florida, we use the air conditioning system even through the “winter”, so we obviously use the air conditioning system more frequently. At Zafras Property Services, we recommend that you replace your air filter once a month in the beginning and as you learn your lifestyle habits, you can determine by looking at it whether you can prolong the use of the filter.

Where is it?

Your air filter is below the air handler unit, in a small compartment where the filter can be slid into place. Or inside a grill usually mounted in the wall or ceiling near the air handler.

Which Filter to Use When You Replace Your Air Filter

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends using an air filter that has a rating of MERV 6 or higher.*

But most hardware stores in south Florida do not sell air filters with the MERV rating, they tend to use the FPR rating. Below is a useful table on the equivalency between the MERV and FPR ratings. Use this as a guide when you replace your air filter.

MERV FPR What does it capture?**
6 No equivalent available Lint, House Hold Dust, and Pollen
8 5 Lint, House Hold Dust, Pollen, Dust Mites, and Mold Spores
11 7 Lint, House Hold Dust, Pollen, Dust Mites, Mold Spores, Smoke, Smog, Cough/Sneeze and Pet Dander
13 10 Lint, House Hold Dust, Pollen, Dust Mites, Mold Spores, Smoke, Smog, Cough/Sneeze, Pet Dander, Virus Carriers, Odors and Bacteria

 

*(Source:  https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/free-resources/top-ten-things-consumers-should-know-about-air-conditioning)

**According to Manufacturers Specs