The Unfiltered Fundamentals about HVAC Filters

dirty-air-filterNever skimp on changing your HVAC filter. It’s the most important self-maintenance you can do for one of the biggest expenses in your home. But people don’t realize the consequences of shirking off this crucial yet simple and inexpensive effort.  In fact, dirty filters are the most common reason HVAC systems shut down, which means you’ll be paying for a service call when that happens. And think of this: the worst-case scenario… you have to replace your entire HVAC system. How does your wallet feel about that?

Checking and changing your filters regularly will keep your system running smoothly, extend the lifespan of your AC, save on your power bill and keep your home air quality healthy. Now that’s a lot of great benefits for one easy task!

Check your filter monthly and change it when it’s dirty…. at least every 90 days.

We agree with the U.S. Department of Energy’s recommendation. Check your filter at least every month and change it within 90 days. If you have pets or smokers in your home, you should check it twice a month.

How do you know if the filter needs to be changed? In most cases, it will be obvious. But if you’re unsure, run your finger across the filter. If it picks up dirt and leaves a line across the filter, time to change.

Choose the filter that’s best for your system and your lifestyle.

Ironically, the most efficient filters, which are the most expensive, are not necessarily what’s best for you.  Conversely, the cheapest, which are the least efficient filters, are probably not your best bet either. So how do you decide?

MERV-Air-Filter-ChartYour best resource is your HVAC service company. Of course, size is an obvious factor, that you can determine yourself just by taking measurements of the filter frame. But when it comes to efficiency, our recommendations are based on the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) system created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning Engineers. The ratings range from 1 (least efficient) to 20 (most efficient).

The least efficient filters allow the most airflow but allow in more dirt, dust and other unhealthy particles. The most efficient ones do the best job of blocking out the particles but allow the least amount of airflow, which can be taxing on your system.  That’s why your best bet is probably somewhere in the middle – an 8 for older models or an 11 for newer models.  So who uses the lowest efficient or most efficient? People who don’t want to spend a little more (and honestly, it’s just a minimal amount) to achieve optimum results can go with the lowest. Clinical settings, such as hospitals, typically have units that require the higher ratings for obvious reasons.

Some systems do require a built-in filter. These are high maintenance and not very efficient. If you have this kind of system, talk to us about your options.

Be prepared.

First, make sure you know where your filters go. Typically, one goes right next to your air handler inside your home. You may also have air return grilles in the in ceiling or wall. When you replace your filter in a return grille, plan to also clean the grille.

Keep filters in stock and easily accessible. The easier you make it on yourself, the more inclined you will be to make filter replacement a part of your regular routine.


We are here for you to walk your through filter replacement and answer any questions you have about filters or anything else regarding your HVAC. Educating customers is a core value of our company. That’s why we say, “Service that’s telling, not selling.”

APCO UV Systems versus UV Disinfection Systems

If you’re like most people, chances are you haven’t paid much attention to the air quality inside your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the quality of the air inside a home is at least 5 times worse than outside. The source of the problem can be many different things, such tobacco smoke, household cleaning products, radon, as well as pathogens that built up over time in your HVAC system and duct.

Your air conditioning system is the central component in your home to circulate the air. You may be in the kitchen cleaning, and those chemical can travel throughout your home, including to all the bedrooms. While it is impossible to completely eliminate all the odors and pollutants from the air, there are measure that you can take to minimize the effects. One such measure is to install an ultra violet or UV light system in your home air conditioning and ducts.

There are many different types and brands of UV lights available on the market and choosing the right one can be a daunting task. There are two common types of UV systems used in residential and light commercial applications, UV Light Disinfection and Photo Catalytic Oxidation.

UV-Light-Disinfection-SystemsThe UV light disinfection systems:

  • Installed by the coil of the air handler (inside piece)
  • Disinfects the organisms on the surface of the coil by breaking apart their molecular DNA, essentially stopping them from being able to reproduce.
  • Available in 1 or 2 year bulbs
  • For safety reason, it needs to be installed by a licensed contractor.

APCO-UV-Light-SytemAdvance Photo Catalytic Oxidation (APCO)

  • Installed by the coil of the air handler ¬and the supply air duct.
  • Utilizes carbon cells infused with titanium dioxide, which absorb the organisms in the air, and the UV light turns them into non-toxic inorganic matter.
  • Disinfects the organisms on the surface of the coil by breaking apart their molecular DNA
  • Available in 1 or 2 year bulbs
  • For safety reason, it needs to be installed by a licensed contractor.

The major difference between the two types of systems is one disinfects the contaminants on the surface of the coil while the APCO kills them all together.

Whichever type of system you choose, the quality of the air inside your will improve!

For more information about how a UV system can benefit your home or which type of system will work best for you…contact our office at or 561-746-7211.