How Do Air Filters Affect the Efficiency of Your Cooling System? - Ernst Heating & Cooling

How Do Air Filters Affect the Efficiency of Your Cooling System?

High-efficiency air filter

When selecting a whole-house air filter for your HVAC system, you want one that catches all the allergens and pollutants, right? Maybe. The answer’s not as apparent as it seems.

Air filters with higher efficiency ratings may do a better job clearing the air. Still, they’ll also force your HVAC system to work harder, resulting in performance challenges and higher energy bills. How can you make the right choice? Fortunately, Ernst Heating & Cooling can help Metro East homeowners select the best filter for their family’s needs and budgets.

Air filter ratings: What’s the difference?

Your HVAC technician probably told you to replace your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter is less efficient and can impede airflow, forcing your HVAC unit to work harder. Changing the filter regularly means you’ll be able to enjoy clean air without worrying about burning out your HVAC fan blower motor or other components.

But when you hit the hardware store, you discover several air filter options. Most of them have a MERV rating, which stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value.” A MERV rating of 1 is the least efficient for catching dust, pollen, and airborne particles before they flow through your HVAC system. A MERV rating of 17 to 20 means the filter is trapping nearly everything (think hospital operating rooms and other spots that require the cleanest air).

How do air filters affect my A/C?

As we move into the spring months and warmer weather, you look forward to coming home to a cool home. Midwesterners love our summers, but there’s a tradeoff. Pollens and other allergens flourish in the summer and can sneak into our homes, potentially damaging our HVAC units and leaving us in constant sniffles. Before you run out to buy the highest-efficiency air filter, consider what it does to your HVAC system. The denser the filter, the harder your system will need to work to pull air through it. On the other hand, a lower-efficiency filter may not trap enough dust and debris before the air is forced through the HVAC unit, leading to potential failures.

How do I decide?

The HVAC technicians at Ernst Heating & Cooling can help you determine the best air-quality air filter for your home and HVAC unit. If you’re concerned about the air quality inside your home, stick with a MERV rating between 8 and 13. Don’t install anything rated 14 or higher unless your HVAC contractor recommends it; too much efficiency can be harmful when keeping your A/C running. If you’re seeking the highest air quality, consider installing an air filtration system like the Lennox® PureAir™ Air Purification System, which removes more than 95% of particles down to .3 microns wide.

Are you wondering how to enjoy cleaner air without overtaxing your home’s heating and cooling system? Reach out to Ernst Heating & Cooling at 618.217.1836. We can help you with this important decision. Remember, the Ernst Comfort Plan offers semi-annual tune-ups and a 15% discount on filters. The right filter protects your home and your family. At Ernst Heating & Cooling, we’re here to keep you comfortable.

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