What Happens If You Use The Wrong Size Air Filter

You’re shopping at your local home improvement store and suddenly you remember you need to grab a new air filter. You walk down the right aisle and browse through the selection the store has in stock. Of course, they don’t have the size you usually use so you grab something you think is close enough. A couple weeks later you notice the air quality in your home isn’t as great as usual. If you’re wondering what happens when you use the wrong size air filter, your air quality isn’t the only thing you need to worry about.

Using The Wrong Size Air Filter

Using the wrong size air filter won’t necessarily damage your HVAC system, at least not immediately. It does have an impact, though. Using the wrong size reduces the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. This can quickly add up and becomes more of an apparent issue you’ll likely notice on your next utility bill. 

The biggest concern when you use the wrong size air filter is that it may not effectively prevent dust from building up on your HVAC system’s motors and blowers. This dirties up your furnace which could affect its performance or possibly harm the system’s internal components, leading to costly repairs or replacements. 

Filter Types

It’s important to remember that air filters vary greatly in terms of size, thickness, and material. Most filters are made of fiberglass, pleated paper, polyester fibers, and electrostatic pleats. Some are disposable and meant to only be used once while others can be washed and reused. Regardless of what type is best for your individual HVAC system, it’s important that you change or clean the air filter often. This will help you maintain healthy air quality within your home. 

MERV Ratings

It’s a common misconception that using an air filter with a higher MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating is the best way to go. A higher MERV means the filter is able to trap smaller particles like viruses and bacteria. That being said, not every HVAC system is designed to work with such fine-mesh filters. If your system isn’t compatible with the filter, air flow will be restricted. Which, again, leads to the above problems associated with choosing the wrong size air filter.  

Not Sure If You’re Using The Right Size Filter?

If you have questions about your furnace, give our HVAC team a call. We’ll make sure you’re using the right size air filter for your HVAC system.