Filtration as a concept is a simple one but is one that is often overlooked by most people including myself. Our minds are so busy with our daily routines that concern for our indoor environment is the least of our worries. I have been living in a townhouse for almost a year, but I’ve yet to change the air filters.
Instead of putting myself down for how I’ve should’ve already done this by now, I’ve decided to take this as an opportunity to show how much of an impact filtration can provide in your daily life. Currently, I have a hard time breathing whenever I sleep, and now and then remain congested even though I’m indoors and spring isn’t in full effect. I want to chronicle not only changing the filters and showing “how to” but the effect that it has from both a short and long-term perspective. So please look for future blog updates in which I’ll show how it is benefiting my daily life.
We’ll begin with air filtration.
How to locate air filters in your home
The first thing you must do is locate your filters. Their location depends on the build of your home. If you have a multi-story house, you likely have at least one filter per floor. In my case, I had one on the first floor in the living room area. I had two on the second floor; one located in the hallway, and one located in the master bedroom.
Here’s how my filters looked.
Not too pleasant looking, right? Dungy, dirty, and full of grime. It’s surprising that I’ve been able to breathe with this, much less think about the contaminants that have been inhaled. It’s time to change these bad boys.
How to change filters in your home
If your filters look like mine, then the first thing you need to do is grab some protective gear! I’m using a mask and gloves. If your filter is located on the ceiling like my 2nd story filters, then it’s probably a good idea to shield your eyes with something like a face shield. FiltersFast.com has excellent mask options if you’re looking to purchase. You can go with the comfortable, reusable particulate respirator facemask by RZ Mask.
The mask is to protect you from inhaling the dust, and the face shield is to prevent the dust from going into your eyes. You’ll also need a ladder for those hard-to-reach filters.
Most air filters should have a mechanism to keep them in place. Squeeze on the mechanism, then slide the grille open, and voila!
Determining your air filter size can be sort of a pickle. For more information about it, check out this blog about how to figure out what size air filter you need. You should be able to discover the size of filters your home uses if one is already there. Usually, the manufacturer will put the size on the side of the furnace filter
Here are some photos to give you a better idea of where to look to find the size.
Besides the size, you’ll also need to consider the level of filtration you want. Filters are graded by using a rating system known as Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERV for short. The MERV system was created in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). MERV level ranges from 1 – 7 have little to no airflow restriction, meaning any contaminants present will be able to travel through the system. High-level MERV ranges restrict airflow, blocking most contaminants. You must be careful however because a MERV level higher than 13 is not recommended for home use and may damage your system.
I’m going with the MERV 8 which will give me enough airflow restriction to block the allergens that I’m concerned about.
Here’s how my FiltersFast.com MERV 8 filters look.
If your air filter returns look as dusty as mine, take the time to clean them.
Here’s how the returns look after I’ve cleaned them. I’m using paper towels and Lysol cleaner without bleach. You can also use a brush or compressed air duster to remove the dust effectively. Don’t forget to use your protective gear!
After you’ve removed all dust, now it’s time to install the air filters. When installing the pleated air filters, you should be aware of which direction you’re placing the filter in. One side of the filter is the media, and the other side has support backing and wiring. On most air conditioner filters, you’ll have an air flow arrow. That air flow arrow should be aimed towards the return since air will be entering the filter that way. After you’ve set the filters in place, close the protective grille, and you’re done!
It’s important to change your air filters frequently. How frequently you change your filters will depend on how many people and/or pets are residing in your home, but it is recommended that you change them at least every 3 months. Since working for FiltersFast.com, I’ve learned that filtration can provide so many benefits, which can affect your daily life. I look forward to sharing my filtration journey with you, so please check back soon for more.