Because your HVAC system circulates air throughout your entire home, system filter damage can have a widespread impact on proper heating and cooling functions. A typically sized residential HVAC blower pulls air at a rate of 1,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) through the system filter. Filter damage impairs this vital airflow which, in turn, degrades indoor air quality, boosts your monthly bill and even leads to excess wear and tear on furnace or AC components. Here, we’ll look at some ways filter damage can happen.
The Dirty Filter
A dirty filter that needs replacement diminishes warm or cool airflow through the system, making indoor temperatures harder to maintain. Adjustments to the thermostat to compensate only make the furnace or AC run longer and use more energy, boosting operating costs.
The Clogged Filter
As a dirty filter progresses to being totally clogged, system airflow may become completely obstructed, and serious filter damage may occur to your HVAC system. More than being just a comfort issue or causing higher monthly bills, lack of airflow may cause critical furnace components to overheat, possibly permanently damaging the furnace heat exchanger, the single most expensive heating component. During summer air-conditioner operation, obstructed airflow can trigger ice formation in the evaporator coil that may potentially damage the critical AC compressor.
The Wrong Filter
The more efficient the air filter, the smaller airborne particulates it will capture. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) efficiency rating expresses an air filter’s ability to capture particulates. MERV ratings range from 1 — the least efficient — up to 16, the most efficient.
However, filtration efficiency has a limit in a typical residential HVAC system. As the MERV rating rises, the filter media becomes increasingly thicker and system airflow diminishes.
For most homes, high-efficiency filters are not recommended because they will reduce airflow excessively. To strike a balance between adequate airflow and efficiency, most HVAC professionals recommend a pleated cotton or polyester filter with a MERV rating of at least 8 but no higher than 13.
For more about issues relating to air filter damage, contact the HVAC professionals at Detmer and Sons.