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When you turn on your air conditioner during a warm summer day in Fairfax VA, you expect it to work properly. However, it’s easy to ignore the system until it’s needed, and this is a common point for repair issues to arise. Some basic maintenance on your part can limit problems, and professional maintenance can take care of many more potential issues. Your work begins with diligently checking and changing dirty air filters, but it can be challenging to know which filters are best for your system.

MERV Ratings and Air Filters

The scale for minimum efficiency reporting values, MERV, was created to provide a measure of the effectiveness of a filter at removing small particles from circulation. The MERV scale ranges from one to 20, and a higher rating indicates greater efficiency. However, the highest levels aren’t suitable for most home HVAC systems. This is due to the fact that such models can impede air flow in residential systems and create pressure issues. Additionally, air filters with higher ratings can be more expensive.

Your residential system should work well with a filter that has a MERV rating from five to 12. Values from five to eight provide increasingly effective filtration of mold spores, pet dander, volatile compounds like hair spray, and other dust and debris. Ratings from nine to 12 address finer particulates like milled flour, auto emissions, and lead dust. These are better for homes in dusty regions or in cases of severe allergies.

More Advanced Filtration

Air purifiers incorporate higher MERV values in the filters used, excellent for more intense filtration throughout the home. Families with lots of allergy problems can benefit from such technology. Homeowners who tend to be especially vulnerable to illness during the flu season can benefit from germicidal units. The trap and kill technology used in such air cleaners destroys various bacteria and viruses.

Because these systems involve higher efficiencies, it’s important to work with an HVAC professional for selection and installation. Your technician will ensure that your air cleaner is compatible with your system. He can also help you explore additional air quality concerns in your home.

Additional Airflow Issues in Your Air Conditioning System

While your filter plays an important role in air cleaning, there are other factors that can impede air movement through your system. It’s always important to make sure that your vents are clear of furniture and other materials or decorative objects that might hinder circulation. Leaky ducts can lead to significant energy loss and airflow restriction. Dirty coils can limit airflow as well.

Issues with ducts and coils are tough to diagnose without the assistance of a professional HVAC technician. If you have changed your filter but find that you aren’t getting a good flow of cool air through your vents, maintenance service is helpful for ensuring that your system is optimized. During a tune-up, our certified technician can check and clean your coils and make a diagnosis of duct problems. Call us at Brennan’s Heating and Air Conditioning for more information.

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