February 1, 2024
How Do I Know Which Filter I Need For My HVAC?

Regularly changing your HVAC air filter is one of the best things you can do to protect the
heating and cooling equipment in your American Fork, UT home. Most HVAC manufacturers
recommend checking these components monthly and changing them every three to six months.

You can tell whether your filter needs replacement by holding it up to the light. If light can pass
through a filter’s mesh, air can, too. However, if you’ve never replaced your HVAC air filter
before, it’s important to get the right type and dimensions. An ill-fitted and improperly installed
filter can be just as bad for your heater and air conditioner as a dirty one.

Manually Measure Your HVAC Air Filter’s Size

You can always turn your HVAC system off, remove your current filter, and take it to the store
with you. The only problem is that a dirty air filter will release tiny particulates everywhere you
take it. To prevent this, bag your filter before bringing it along, or simply measure its dimensions
and leave it at home.

Before using your tape measure, check for filter measurements printed along the filter’s edge.
Most filter manufacturers print the length, width, and thickness of filters on their products. For
instance, your filter might read 18″ x 20″ x 1″. You can take a screenshot of these numbers with
your mobile phone or write them down. Having a screenshot of your air filter will give you a
visual point of reference when shopping in a store.

If measuring your filter, take its measurements in inches. Measure the filter’s length, width, and
thickness, and record the measurements in this order. This is how you’ll find filter measurements
listed on all the products sold in stores.

Check Your Owner’s Manual and Warranty

Filter changes are such an important part of ongoing HVAC maintenance that most equipment
manufacturers list filter requirements in both owner’s manuals and warranty documents. Your
owner’s manual could share tips on making sure that new filters are properly oriented and right
for the job. Your equipment manufacturer warranty will give you model-specific guidelines for
filter changes and state the minimum filter change requirements for keeping your coverage

The Ramifications of Delayed Filter Changes and Filter Replacement Mistakes

All the air that enters your HVAC system passes through its filter. If this component is improperly
sized or installed, your heater, heat pump, or AC could short cycle or overheat. If you let your
HVAC air filter get too dirty, you can experience a rise in your energy bills, a decline in your
indoor air quality (IAQ), higher-than-normal humidity, and many other performance-related
issues. Worse still, if you ever have to file a claim for HVAC replacement or repairs, evidence of
poor filter maintenance could void your warranty.

What to Know About HVAC Air Filter Ratings

All HVAC air filters sold throughout North America come with maximum efficiency reporting
value (MERV) ratings. These ratings run from 1 through 20, with 20 being the highest possible
MERV rating. Most standard HVAC air filters have MERV ratings of 6 to 8. These filters capture
and retain larger indoor contaminants like carpet and textile fibers, pet fur, hair, dust, dander,
and pollen.

Upgrading to a filter with a rating of 9 to 10 will improve your IAQ and give your heating and
cooling equipment greater protection. However, higher MERV ratings increasingly inhibit airflow.
With greater surface area and tighter mesh, upgraded air filters sieve out more airborne debris
but also slow the movement of air. To achieve the right balance of IAQ improvement and HVAC
performance, it’s best to get help from an HVAC expert when upgrading to a higher filter rating.

When in Doubt, Ask a Professional

HVAC air filter changes are part of our annual tune-up services. Before turning your heater or air
conditioner on for the season, you should always schedule professional maintenance. This
primes HVAC equipment for the challenges ahead, optimizes its efficiency, and gives our
technicians the chance to catch and correct developing problems.

During this visit, you can ask our technician to show you where your HVAC air filter is located,
how to take it out, and how to put a fresh one in. This is also a great time to ask about HVAC air
filters with higher MERV ratings and get detailed sizing information.

With our emphasis on quality craftsmanship, competitive pricing, and total transparency,
Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing proudly serves American Fork and the surrounding communities. Our clients
can count on us for top-notch heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality services. We
also provide new ductwork and sheet metal fabrication.

For help replacing your HVAC air filter or doing other heating maintenance or ac maintenance, contact
Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing now!

company icon