Question: What is a high efficiency filter, and do I need a high efficiency filter if I have a high efficiency furnace?
Answer: Filter efficiency refers to the percentage of airborne particles that the filter removes. This is different from the fuel efficiency of your furnace (commonly measured as the AFUE). You can choose either a high-efficiency or a low-efficiency filter for your highly fuel efficient furnace. (Note, however, that failing to change / clean your filter regularly can reduce your furnace’s fuel efficiency.
Question:What is a MERV rating?
Answer: MERV stands for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and is a measure of a filter’s worst-case efficiency performance. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter.
Question. Where is my filter located in my Furnace?
Answer: In general the furnace filter is located inside the blower compartment.
This will vary with the installation of the Furnace. The HVAC (Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning) contractor can install an Air clean Box, or cut a slot in the return air duct. There is a possibility that your Furnace or Air Handler will have filters in the central return Grill. You do not want to install in both places. When changing the filters in the furnace compartment, ALWAYS turn the power off at the main circuit breaker.
Up flow Furnace (air moving upward) Filter is located in the blower compartment (bottom door) adjacent to the cold air return. You have to remove both the top door and then the bottom door. Make sure that when you re-install the bottom door, it goes over the furnace frame so that it engages the safety switch. If not the furnace will not run.
Down flow Furnace. (air moving in downward direction) Filter is located in the upper blower compartment. Most furnaces will have a V shape filter system; the system will take 2 filters. The filters go up into the plenum in a V shape. Make sure that when you re-install the top door, it goes over the furnace frame so it engages the safety switch. If not the furnace will not run.
Horizontal Furnace. Most Horizontal Furnaces will have a slide in Furnace rack, built into the furnace.
Air Handlers. Most Air Handlers will have a built in filter rack in the unit. Note most Air Handlers will have central returns, which have built in filter grills to accommodate a filter.. Check to see that you DO NOT HAVE a filter in the Air Handler and the filter grill. This will cause you reduced air flow and higher utility bills.
Note: Many customers use plastic deflectors to keep their drapes away from the floor vent and keep the warm air going across the floor. (Remember) warm air raises and cold air fall. REMOVE in the cooling season to have better cooling and lower utility bills.
This information will help clarify and answer some questions about central air conditioning.
New or existing system: Knowing your plans for A/C installation will help your service provider give you a more accurate estimate. For example, if you are tying into an existing system, odds are you will want to use the same brand as the older system. Completely replacing your system will call for tearing it out and having it disposed of both jobs that could mean additional cost to you.
Addition or remodel: Knowing whether an addition or remodel is in process will help your service professional size up your air conditioning needs and give you a more accurate estimate. A house’s structure, window area, sun exposure, and the climate will affect your cooling needs.
Power: A central air conditioners cooling capacity is rated in Btu’s (British thermal units) per hour. As a rough rule you need 12,000 Btu’s for 1,000 square feet of well insulated space or 400 square feet of poorly insulated space. If you have high ceilings, your cooling needs will be different; it takes more cooling power to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house.
Aging system: Air conditioners have become increasingly energy efficient in the last decade. If your system has not cooled or heated as well as it used to, you may want to consider having it completely replaced. If your service professional is tying into an existing system, the older system’s age will help determine its compatibility with the newer system.
Wall access: Knowing how much open access is available will help your service professional give you a more accurate estimate. Installing central air conditioning requires access to the home’s heating and cooling duct system. The more open access there is, the less labor that will be involved.
Common A/C problems: If your central air conditioning isn’t performing up to par or isn’t performing at all, here are some easy troubleshooting tips that you should try before contacting a Service Professional.
- If the compressor doesn’t turn on, check the fuse and breaker.
- If it runs but doesn’t cool, the refrigerant could be low. If that’s the case, call a service professional.
- Check to see if the condenser coils on both sides are dirty. If they are, brush and vacuum them. (This is a good idea to perform at least twice a season.)
- If the A/C is performing inefficiently (partial cooling), check to make sure the condenser is clean, also check to see if the filter is clean.
If the water leaks at the furnace, it could be a clogged drainpipe from the evaporator coil pan. Check the pipe and clear it if it is clogged.