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The Importance of a Quality Furnace Filter

Technician installing a furnace filter

Southeast Michigan homeowners are advised, over and over again, to change their furnace filters often, yet many neglects to take care of this simple task. The fact is, there is no other factor that affects the performance of your system and energy efficiency like a dirty or clogged filter, which will impede airflow. Most homeowners aren’t aware that the blower of their systems sends all the air volumes in their homes through the filter countless times each day. Along with the air, imagine all the airborne particles including lint, dust, dirt, pet dander, and other contaminants! Not to mention pollen, mold spores, and other tiny microorganisms that aren’t visible.

Cheap Filters are Inexpensive for a Reason

A dirty filter can reduce airflow from your system, which can result in several consequences including poor indoor air quality, excessive wear and tear on your system, and increased energy consumption which results in higher utility bills. You can prevent most of the above by installing a high-quality filter and make sure you change it each month during the winter season.

What type of furnace filter should you get?

Understandably, many homeowners in Ann Arbor, Dexter, and surrounding areas buy the cheapest filters available – fiberglass panel filters, which are only capable of filtering larger dust particles. These filters are nearly useless when it comes to improving indoor air quality. By purchasing pleated polyester or cotton filters in multi-packs, you enjoy a great value and much-improved efficiency. The efficiency of filters is measured by the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) displayed on the package. The higher the rating, the more airborne contaminants you can expect your filter to remove from the air. If you want a filter that is capable of trapping mold spores and other invisible particles, be sure to get one with a rating of 6 to 8. Those rated higher than 10 can severely restrict the airflow of your system, so be aware of the fact.

Changing Your Filter

In most cases, the filter on a furnace is installed in a slide-in slot placed vertically at the bottom of the unit, in the area where the return air duct enters the furnace cabinet. When changing the filter, be sure to turn the thermostat to the “off” position. Slide the old filter out, clean the furnace frame to remove any accumulation of dirt and dust using a soft rag, then slide the new filter in while making sure the side with the printed arrow is pointing in the direction of airflow. Turn the thermostat to the “on” position, and you’re ready to enjoy improved efficiency and better indoor air quality.

Need help selecting a filter to replace your old one, or changing the filter on your furnace? Contact the SE Michigan heating and cooling professionals at Haley Mechanical for all your furnace needs.

How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filter?

Picture of a furnace filter

As a Southeast Michigan homeowner you probably already know that changing the furnace filter is one of those things you should often do, but it slips your mind. The fact is that while you forget to do it when you should, it’s one of the simplest but more essential tasks to not only ensure the best indoor air quality but prevent costly repairs and keep your furnace functioning smoothly.

Perhaps the easiest way to make sure you change your furnace filter each month is to mark it on the calendar. If it’s clogged or dirty when you hold it up against the light and you can’t see through it, is time to replace. If you can’t keep up with monthly changes, replace the filter every three months at a minimum.

Air Filters are an Essential Component of Your HVAC System

Most Ann Arbor homeowner don’t realize just how important the air filter is when it comes to heating and cooling their homes. Not only does the filter ensure better functioning and indoor air quality, but it also protects vital components of your system from becoming clogged or dirty while reducing the risk of particle build-up that can contribute to potentially costly issues. When your filter is clogged, and your system can’t operate at its best, you will probably notice higher monthly energy bills.

Repair Costs are Often Avoidable

A dirty or clogged air filter can result in more problems than you might think. It could cause your furnace to overheat, and during the summer season your air conditioner could completely shut down if the coils freeze due to restricted airflow. Why face expensive repair costs when many issues can be avoided by just changing or cleaning your air filter?

Enjoy Healthier, Fresh Air in Your SE Michigan Home

When the air filter is dirty or clogged, it cannot filter out dust, pet dander, allergens, pollen, bacteria and other contaminants that pollute the air inside your home; This not only impacts those with allergies but other issues such as COPD, asthma or other respiratory problems. While a clean filter helps tremendously with fresh, healthier indoor air, you may also want to think about an electronic air cleaner if you do have family members with allergies, asthma, etc.

Which Type of Filter Should You Choose?

Many homeowners choose the cheapest furnace filter, which is understandable but not always the best choice. To determine which type is best for your HVAC system, ask your Ann Arbor HVAC contractor or look in your furnace manual. Disposable filters are usually the cheapest and reusable filters are more expensive but more effective. High-efficiency filters or those with higher MERV ratings are capable of filtering out smaller particles than more inexpensive filters. However, they are not recommended for all HVAC systems and do cost significantly more. Before choosing these types of filters, it is a good idea to discuss it with your HVAC contractor.

While the filter may seem like the most minor and insignificant component of your heating and cooling system, it plays a significant role.

At Haley Mechanical we know the importance of keeping your HVAC filter clean throughout the seasons whether it’s winter or summer. When your heating or cooling system is running, filtering the air is critical to not only your family’s health and comfort, but the longevity of your system, how it performs, and how much you pay in energy costs. To learn more about monthly inspections and which filter is best for your needs, contact our Southeast Michigan HVAC experts today.

Filters are available on site at Haley Mechanical or delivered directly to your door through Filter Fetch.

High-efficiency HVAC Filters – Pros and Cons

Picture of a furnace filter

High-efficiency HVAC filters may be something you have heard a little about, but aren’t familiar with. Perhaps a co-worker or friend has mentioned how a high-efficiency filter might improve indoor air quality, and now you’re curious about how they work, and whether it is something you should consider. Our Ann Arbor HVAC professionals are sharing the pros and cons of high-efficiency filters so that you can make a more informed decision.

Regular HVAC Filters vs. High-efficiency

Designed to protect the components of your HVAC system from large dust particles and other debris, regular filters are generally about one inch thick. Most homeowners think these filters work to improve the quality of indoor air substantially. However, this isn’t the case. A regular filter removes the big particles from the air, but not the pollen and small dust particles that affect not only the air quality inside your home but the health of your family members.

High-efficiency filters are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing not only small dust particles but mold spores, tobacco smoke, viruses, and other contaminants. Your family enjoys a cleaner, healthier indoor air.

Filters Delivered Right To Your Door

Order filters from our partner, Filter Fetch, and have them delivered right to your door.Order Here

Most Important Benefits of High-efficiency Filters

High-efficiency HVAC filters offer genuine health benefits, particularly for those with asthma, COPD, allergies, or other respiratory health issues. These benefits include:

  • Fresher smelling air
  • Fewer dust particles in the air
  • Allergen reduction (pollen, mold, etc.)
  • Reduction in respiratory irritants
  • HVAC components and ducts remain cleaner

Before You Make the Switch

It’s tempting after reading about the benefits to want to switch to a high-efficiency HVAC filter right away. Before you do, it’s essential to know that the wrong filter can wreak havoc with your system if it reduces the flow of air. The air filter must be appropriate for your HVAC system, and it’s recommended you speak with a professional to ensure your system will accommodate the upgrade.

There is a wide array of high-efficiency filters available today, however not all companies who manufacture these filters are knowledgeable in regards to modern cooling/heating equipment and airflow requirements. Switching from a regular filter to one that is high-efficiency without ensuring proper airflow could put the lifespan and dependability of your system at risk. A highly efficient air filter could restrict airflow, causing compressor failure, overheating, or frozen coils depending on operating mode (cooling/heating).

The best thing you can do is to work with one of our heating and cooling technicians who can perform an airflow test to help determine the best type of filter for your system.

From choosing the proper filter for your system to understanding Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), an efficiency rating for filters, Haley Mechanical is here to help. Don’t forget to inspect and change your filter often! We invite homeowners in Ann Arbor and throughout southeast Michigan to give us a call today to learn more about high-efficiency filters.