How HVAC Filters Impact Efficiency in Loudon, TN

Few of us would be able to live without HVAC systems’ indispensable climate control functions, but just as few of us pause to take note of the air filtration abilities that they also have. Despite this, HVAC system air filters can have some rather significant consequences for your home in Loudon, TN.

Airflow, Air Filters and Performance

Smooth and adequate airflow is the foundation of every other major HVAC function. If this disappears or even diminishes, the consequences will cascade down to every aspect of your HVAC system’s operations. In turn, your system’s air filters play a crucial role in maintaining adequate airflow.

To see how this is the case, just imagine what would happen if your HVAC air filters were especially dirty, old or clogged with debris. After your system’s compressor, condenser coil, evaporator coil or heat exchanger appropriately alters the air’s temperature, that air will move through ventilation ducts and pass through air filters before finally ending up in the various rooms of your home. If you have congested filters, however, air will not pass through as quickly as it otherwise might, thus slowing down the entire process.

With jammed-up filters, not only will modified air circulate through your home more slowly, but smaller amounts of it will circulate as well. Consequently, your HVAC system will not be able to modify indoor temperatures as quickly. Just on its own, this one fact has a few important implications.

The first of these is that the general ability of your HVAC system to moderate your indoor climate will decline, and you will experience this through lower levels of comfort. Secondly, in an effort to compensate for deficiencies like this, your system may use more energy, resulting in higher energy bills and little positive practical effect to accompany them. Thirdly, this greater energy use by running for longer periods will put more strain upon your HVAC system, increasing the likelihood of breakdowns and pushing up your repair costs over the long run.

Filters and MERV Ratings

To fully appreciate the impact of air filters on HVAC system efficiency, you must know something beyond just the general considerations outlined above. You should also have a good idea of the MERV ratings of the filters your system is using.

An air filter’s MERV (or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is a measure of its filtering power. The higher its MERV rating, the greater the proportion of progressively smaller bits of particulate matter that a filter can remove from the surrounding air. For example, a filter with a MERV rating of 8 can remove 70-85% of pollutants that measure between 3 and 10 microns in diameter and less than 20% of all smaller undesirable particles.

Traditional central HVAC systems come pre-equipped with filters MERV-rated anywhere between 3 and 8. A rating of 8 should be adequate for most ordinary purposes related to maintaining indoor air quality, though some HVAC systems can accommodate filters with any MERV rating up to and including 13.

At first glance, it may seem true that a filter with a higher MERV rating is always a better one, though this is not always the case. Especially powerful filters will have a particularly fine mesh — so fine that it may actually hinder airflow and reduce HVAC system efficiency.

Filter Types

The last major factor to consider is the material that makes up any prospective air filter. The three major categories of filters here are fiberglass filters, pleated filters and Filti nanofiber filters.

Fiberglass filters are very inexpensive, though their MERV ratings typically only run from 1 to 4. Pleated filters are somewhat stronger, with MERV ratings of between 5 and 8, and they are typically made from cotton or polyester. Filti nanofiber filters are more expensive, but they are washable, reusable and have MERV ratings of up to 16.

The right set of air filters will transform your home into a more inviting place and push your HVAC system’s performance up a notch. For all the help and information about air filters that anyone from around Loudon, TN could ever need, call and ask for Cook’s Comfort Systems, Inc.’s indoor air quality services.

Image provided by iStock

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