Your air conditioning filter can be found in various locations depending upon the type of unit you have. Here in Phoenix, it’s likely located in one of your air return vents. These are the bigger vents located either on your wall or in your ceiling. In a lot of other cases, it will be located right next to your furnace or air handler. Here are some frequently asked questions about air filters:

What is an air handler?

This is the large metal box containing a fan and a fan motor.

What if I have a package unit and I can’t find it inside?

Try looking outside to see if there’s a filter rack on the return plenum.

Is there a correct way to put the air filter in?

YES! When you grab your new air filter look on the side of it to see what direction the airflow needs to go. The filter should always be pointed toward the direction of your furnace/air handler. For example, if you have a wall or ceiling vent, you want the arrows pointing away from you and back towards the ductwork. The reason for this is so that the air is cleaned before it reaches your system.

Why is it important to change my air filter regularly?

Changing your air filter is a crucial part contributing to how long your HVAC system lives. When your air filter is dirty it can cause your system to work harder than it needs to because it’s not getting the airflow to keep the system running correctly. The dirt and debris that’s been caught by the filter is blocking airflow back into your system. This can create some big problems!

Think about it this way… If I asked you to sprint a mile but you had to breathe through a straw, do you think you’d be able to do it? Probably not, unless you’re in incredible shape. This is what it’s like when your system isn’t getting enough airflow. This is what can cause your coil to freeze up, compressor to burn out, etc.

Where can I buy air filters? What kind of filter should I buy?

You’re able to find most air filters at any home improvement store, like a Home Depot, Menards, or Lowe’s. The best way to check is to visit their website and see if they have the correct size filter for your system.

To find out what size your current filter is, you should be able to look on the side of it. The filter should give you a measurement in inches that looks like: Width X Length X Height. It’s important that you get the exact same measurements to correctly fit in your filter rack. If you’re in the Phoenix Metro area, you can always call us if you need assistance finding one!

Air filters are categorized by the MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating, the higher the efficiency of the filter and the more particles it’s going to catch. At Falcon Air Conditioning we usually recommend an 8 MERV rating. Now, if you have a particular type of health issue that requires you to breathe in cleaner air, we recommend stepping it up to a 9-12 MERV rating. The reason we recommend an 8 MERV filter is because it’s cleaning your air, while also allowing a good airflow through your system. The higher the MERV, the more stress it’s going to put on your system. Don’t worry, if you need a higher MERV-rated filter your system will be fine as long as you’re changing your filter out regularly. This brings us to the next question…

How often do I need to change my air filter?

This is a great question that we get asked a lot by our customers. We recommend that you change your air filter every 30-60 days. This will assure that you’re getting the best airflow and quality of air.

There are a lot of different elements that can factor in on how frequent you should change out your filter. For example, if you have pets that shed, you may want to change out your filter closer to every 30 days. The reason for this is because some of that hair is going to be caught by your filter.

Another example would be if you live in a climate in which your unit is having to run continuously. The longer that air is flowing across the filter, the more debris that the filter will be picking up. Replacing the air filter can be easy to forget so we advise that you make a reminder on your phone or calendar to remember to change it out. You can also follow our Facebook page where we post friendly reminders to do so!