Air filter replacement is an important component of heating and cooling system maintenance. While some HVAC systems have reusable filters that can be washed, dried, and reinserted, many systems use disposable filters that should be replaced at regular intervals. There are many different air filter replacements available for purchase, through HVAC contractors, online subscription services such as PHILANTHRO, or your local hardware store. How much does an air filter cost? How do I find the right air filter replacement size? What does an air filter even do, anyway? HVAC.com answers your questions about air filter replacement, air filter cost, and more.
What Does an Air Filter Do?
An HVAC system’s air filter (also referred to as a furnace filter) serves a primary role as protector of the system’s blower motor. The air filter works to keep the blower motor clean by removing airborne contaminants passing through the system. Without the air filter, all the dust, dirt, danger, and other particles would pass into the blower motor chamber from the return ducting, settling on the blower motor. These contaminants accumulate, which has the potential to cause damage to the blower and other components within your HVAC system. While creating a cleaner blower motor and compartment, air filters also create cleaner indoor air through contaminant removal. While not their main job, this is a valuable advantage they offer. Filters receive a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating that reflects contaminant removal efficiency. MERV values start at 1 on the low end and go up to 16, but MERV 12 or 13 is the highest that should be used in a residential HVAC system, depending on the model.
How Much Does an Air Filter Cost?
Furnace air filter cost varies greatly from one product to the next. This is based on MERV rating, filter material, thickness, retailer, and other factors. A standard disposable 1” air filter replacement costs as little as a few dollars at your local home improvement store, and it lasts about a month. A 6” pleated filter that is meant to be changed every 9 to 12 months has a higher cost, but delivers better value.
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