Welcome to another edition of Cogburn’s Heating and Air Conditioning Radio with Byron Cogburn. And Byron, today we’re talking about A/C filters and whether or not there’s a difference between the inexpensive filters and the more expensive filters.
Byron: Tim there’s three types of filters: there’s fiberglass one inch filters, there’s one inch pleated filters, and then there are four and five inch media type air cleaners. And the one inch fiberglass filter is about 3% efficient, so what you’d expect from that is 97% of everything that you see on the filter goes by the filter, goes through the system, comes back in your house and guess what, you become the filter. So then there’s the one inch pleated filter, a little bit higher quality filter. They have a little more resistance to air flow, they clean the air better but they do restrict the air flow, so it winds up costing a little bit extra in utility bills. Then you go into the four and five inch type media air cleaners, they have a MERV rating, which is pretty much measuring all particulates across the entire spectrum of particulates, from atmospheric dust to what you can see with your naked eye. And those have a MERV rating, and HEPA filters have a MERV rating between thirteen and sixteen, so a good MERV rated air cleaner cartridge would be a MERV eleven.
Tim: And so what does that mean for the consumer? How do you understand what to buy, how often to change it, those kinds of questions?
Byron: Well on knowing what to buy, you have to look at the application. Most homes that have been built in the last twenty years, they actually accept a one inch pleated filter. And to upgrade to a higher quality air cleaner, basically takes some modifications to your heating system.
Tim: Then with those different types of filters, how often should you change them? Every thirty days or does it depend on the kind of filter that it is?
Byron: The ninety cent fiberglass filter needs to be changed every thirty days, the pleated filters about sixty to ninety days, and the four and five inch air cleaners somewhere between six and eight months is the replacement period.
Tim: And when you fail to replace them in that kind of a timeframe, what’s the impact on the system and on the air that you breathe?
Byron: Well when you do not change the filters on a regular basis, either your equipment’s going to become dirty and resist against airflow. When that happens you decrease the capacity of your system, it runs longer, your utility bills are higher, and sometimes it doesn’t heat or cool right. And another part of that is that it actually reduces the life of your system by running the system under extreme temperatures since it can’t move the air.
Tim: Which then all of that means it costs you more to operate your system.
Byron: It costs anywhere between 15% and 36% more to run your system without regularly maintaining your filter system.
Tim: So the other question, here we are in the midst of the winter and whether or not you need to change the filter during the winter. We all think about that with the air conditioning unit, but do we need to change it with the heating unit?
Byron: During the heating system season it’s a little bit more critical because everything in your system becomes dry, brittle, breaks off, and it’s blowing around in your house. So you want to continue to change the filter to get that out of there. And still follow the same procedure, every thirty to ninety days change your one inch filters, every six to eight months change your air cleaner cartridges.
Tim: So the bottom line is that for more efficiency, for better air to breathe, and for the life of the system, take care of the filter and the A/C system’s going to take care of you.
Byron: That’s exactly right Tim.
Tim: All right, this has been another edition of Cogburn’s Heating and Air Conditioning Radio.