So, being a homeowner, whats the most important thing you can do to care for your air conditioning system? (Other than having a professional perform routine maintenance of course).

The answer is easy! Change your air filter!!! This simple task can literally save your hundreds of dollars, not just with helping avoid repairs but with your monthly energy bills. Change your filter every 30-60 days. Create some kind of reminder to do this, whether you have a chart, write the date on the filter or even use a mental reminder (i.e. every time you get your monthly energy bill, check/change your filter.) I’m not going into detail today as to why this is so important, but I’m going to focus on the types of filters available and which you should use and which you should avoid!!!

Disposable cardboard filters are the most common filter encountered. They are available at all home improvement stores, big box retailers and even grocery stores. There are so many different sizes and ratings on these filters, that I understand how confusing it can be to the average person. Filters have whats known as a MERV rating, a number scale with the lower number being the lowest rated (filter the least amount of particulates) and the higher number being the highest rated (filters more particulates from your indoor air). Of course the higher the rating the higher the cost, and surprisingly many consumers buy the cheapest filter to “save some money”. Well, your honestly not saving that money, what your really doing is creating future problems with your air conditioner. The more stuff that passes through your filter, collects on your coils and through your duct system. This can lead to expensive services such as evaporator coil cleaning, duct cleaning, and even other repairs such as blower wheel cleanings.

Over time, I’m also encountering an increasing amount of washable reusable air filters. These are absolutely the worst filters you can purchase for your home air conditioner.

  1. They are the lowest rated filters on the MERV scale, which means very little is actually being removed from the air before passing into your air handler.
  2. If a washable air filter is put back into use while still wet or damp from the wash, it’s prone to collecting bacteria and fungus – which can then escape and start circulating through your home.
  3. When a washable filter is cleaned, a majority of the dust/debris actually collect in the middle of the filter creating a hard film when dried, this can cause your air handler to work a lot harder to pull air into your equipment, causing unnecessary stress and lead to breakdowns and repairs.

I understand why people purchase them, they really want to “save money” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Another reason why they’re becoming so popular is many people simply cannot find the right size filter that they’re looking for, and these washable filters can be adjusted to fit any application. But please, there are other solutions which I will mention now.

Custom sized Healthsmart Filters are highly recommended for many reasons. These filters come with a custom sized metal frame so you don’t have to worry about finding the right size filter that you need. The filters themselves are disposable filters, which are rated very high on the MERV scale, meaning they are actually cleaning the particulars from the air and preventing anything from entering your air handler & duct system. These filters are also VERY affordable, usually costing less than a comparable MERV rated disposable cardboard filter. Finally, you can have them drop shipped directly to your front door in a year supply package, meaning you don’t have to go out to look for the right size filters, just make a phone call and within a few days they will be at your home.

There are other types of air filtration techniques which we recommend for many while performing an air conditioner replacement including electronic air cleaners such as Trane’s Clean Effects. But I will go into more details on those another time.

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