7 Reasons Your Filter Isn’t Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

replacing hvac air filter

Although the air inside your home might seem clean enough, it is filled with millions upon millions of tiny particulates. This particulate matter is sometimes visible within the direct sunlight. Just a few micrometers in length, dust particles, and other debris are able to enter your property through narrow passageways and cracks with ease. You can breathe them right in, without being aware of it. They can penetrate your lungs deeply.

If there’s an abundance of particulates and pollutants in the indoor air, your health can gradually decline. To improve indoor air quality (IAQ), you can use the correct filters. The design of high-quality filters captures these tiny particulates. If IAQ is a problem that you’re experiencing in your home, then you need to learn why your HVAC air filter isn’t improving indoor air quality.

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7 Reasons Why Your Air Filter Is No Longer Improving Your IAQ

If the HVAC air filter in your home is no longer working at optimum capacity, it may be because:

1. There Is No HVAC Filter

missing hvac air filter

Have you just moved into a new home? It’s certainly fair to assume that your HVAC system is working like it’s supposed to. Each one of its key components is where it should be. However, if you have an abundance of allergens and dust floating around in the air, this is suspicious.

Check to see that the filter is actually present. In some instances, there’s absolutely no filter in the filter slot. Thus, the air is passing through is uncleaned.

Maybe the past owner neglected to put a new filter in after taking the last one out. It could be that the past owner found the spot to difficult to reach and just decided against putting the filter in. This results in a rapid build-up of dust and other debris on the blowers and coils, and throughout the ducts.

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2. The HVAC Filter Was Incorrectly Installed

It’s one thing to install an HVAC filter in a home. It is another entirely to install it correctly. There’s no point in even having one of these components if it isn’t put in the right place and properly. Even a tiny gap is sufficient for allowing air to pass by uncleaned. Thus, the filter won’t have the ability to effectively block particulates.

The IAQ of the home will continue to be substandard even though one of these components is present but improperly placed. You can continue regularly replacing it according to the manufacturer-recommended schedule. This effort, however, will not provide any benefits until the manner of installation is improved. Homeowners might not know that they’re handling this job all wrong, but HVAC technicians can catch problems like these during maintenance visits.

3. Insufficient Airflow

hvac air ducts

There are times when airflow becomes limited even though the runtime of a system is sufficiently long. This leads to a lower filtration volume.

Return ducts that are simply too small are a common culprit. It could also be that the filters air clogged if you haven’t been maintaining a regular filter change schedule.

If there is an abundance of dirt on your HVAC air filter, air won’t be able to pass through. This will create higher air pressure while slowing the airflow. Overall system efficiency is negatively impacted by this.

Change your air filters on a regular schedule so that these components can effectively block airborne debris while allowing clean air through.

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3. The HVAC System Isn’t Being Used Enough

A filter is a static installation. As such, for this component to work, air has to pass through it. This basically means that the HVAC system has to be turned on long enough for air to be forced through the air filters.

One problem with over-sized HVAC systems is that they reach the set temperature too rapidly and then immediately cycle off. You can prevent problems with sizing such as this by having your HVAC contractor calculate your exact needs for heating and cooling before choosing your HVAC equipment.

You can also change the fan setting to “ON” if it’s currently on “AUTO” so that the system runs for longer. If you remain unhappy with performance in this area, think about using a standalone filter for the job. Call a trusted HVAC company to learn more about indoor air quality services.


5. The MERV Rating Isn’t High Enough

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value of an air filter is its MERV. This is a critical specification for filters and one that every consumer should pay attention to. Filters that have low MERV ratings cost much less than their higher quality alternatives. HVAC filters with low MERV ratings are not good at capturing and filtering pollutants from the indoor air.

Filters with higher MERV ratings will cost a bit more but you’ll reap the benefits of superior filtration when purchasing them. As you shop for a new air filter, don’t automatically grab the lowest-priced options you can find. Instead, consider how much value you’ll be getting overall. It may be worth the additional spending if everyone in your home can breathe easier, and has a lesser risk of developing or exacerbating respiratory issues when spending time inside.

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6. Failing To Provide Mechanical Ventilation By Not Filtering The Outdoor Air

An HVAC system can only work as well as its installation. It won’t matter that you’ve purchased your system from a reputable brand if the plans from the designer are botched or if there was a mistake during installation. For instance, your installers could connect the outside air duct directly to the system return side, thereby bypassing the filter entirely. This oversight is fairly rare, but it does indeed occur. The keen eye of a seasoned HVAC technician will be able to detect this. It’s guaranteed to be frustrating when you discover this area, but at least you’ll about the problem and can fix it.

7. The Filter Has Been Put In The Wrong Place

You have to have a good knowledge of how your HVAC system works and the way in which the air flows to properly place the filter. The placement of your air filter might seem like a small and trivial thing. However, some mistakes are surprisingly easy to make. Sub-optimal filter replacement will lead to substandard performance. Even the best filters won’t live up to their reputations if they’re improperly located.



The air filter in your home HVAC system plays a pivotal role in determining overall IAQ. If residents are always coughing, sneezing, and struggling to breathe, your air filter may be the culprit. It may be experiencing one of the above-mentioned issues. You have to purchase the right filter type and then install it correctly. Avoid mistakes and repair developing problems promptly by working with a knowledgeable HVAC contractor. Have your provider perform a complete inspection of your system and perform routine maintenance right away. You will immediately notice a difference.

Call Lawes Company For Help With Your Home HVAC System

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Throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey, Lawes Company provides expert and affordable heating and cooling solutions. We hire only certified technicians to perform expert system replacements, tune-ups, routine maintenance, and repairs. They can service your home heating and cooling equipment with amazing results.

You’re guaranteed to get the most competitive rates for heating and cooling services in the region when working with Lawes Company. When you receive maintenance services from us, you’ll enjoy higher levels of energy efficiency, greater home comfort, and lower heating and cooling costs. If you need to have your systems repaired or even replaced, we will help you find what you need at a price you can afford. You’ll also have the benefit of our rock-solid satisfaction guarantee. Call Lawes Company to schedule a consultation appointment. You can get a free, in-home estimate.

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