I don’t know what the weather was like where you live, but it was a gorgeous Easter weekend here in central Indiana, so I took advantage of the great weather and tackled a few odd jobs around the house that needed to get done. My sons were here visiting, and my granddaughter was following Gramps around, asking questions and “helping” in that special way that four year olds can. It’s spring time, so one of those jobs was changing my air conditioning filter. Gracie had a number of questions that were really great, so I thought I’d share them here.
“What are you doing, Gramps?”
I’m changing my air filter. Specifically, I’m changing the return air filter for the entire HVAC unit. I use a return grille filter, because I like the extra depth on the pleats to provide better filtration, longer. Because my daughter-in-law suffers from pet allergies when she comes to visit, I use a MERV 11 filter. Usually, these filters are good for 6 months, but I like to replace mine every 4 months. I have a cat and dog indoors, it’s spring allergy season, and I’m always doing odd jobs around the house that can kick up more dust or dirt that normal.
“What’s an air filter do?”
As the air blows through the house, it gathers dust, pet dander, dirt, mold, spores, allergens, and about a billion other types of particulates, allergens, or specks that can make you cough and wheeze or wreak havoc on your HVAC system. You see, the original HVAC filters weren’t nearly as fancy or high tech as what we see on the market now – they were just inexpensive pieces of fiberglass designed to keep dirt, dust, and other big particulates from blowing into the furnace or air conditioner. In the furnace, this stuff would burn up and leave a soot residue inside your HVAC system, which was causing damage to the unit and requiring extra cleaning and maintenance. Inside the air conditioner, all these impurities would coat the cooling system, reducing the heat transfer, making your system less efficient.
Over time, the air filters became more specialized and more effective at removing contaminates from the air. Hospitals, research labs, and other specialized locations required better air filtration for health and safety purposes. As these technologies developed for the industrial space, it began to trickle down into the residential spaces. People who suffered from asthma or allergies could help keep their homes free of allergen
s or asthma triggers. Now, your air filters do so much more than just protect your HVAC system – they protect your whole family.
“Do I need an air filter, Gramps?”
Everyone needs an air filter, Gracie. I know you don’t have any allergies or asthma, but you do have a dog in the house, so I’d recommend a MERV 8 air filter. Gramps buys these filters every year for your Daddy to put in to help keep you breathing easily. Thanks for your help today, Gracie. Can Gramps have a big hug?