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Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

Your HVAC Filter Is NOT a Way to Purify Your Air


People are more concerned about indoor air quality than ever before. During the fire season, we often bring up the topic of making sure to change the air filter in your HVAC system regularly, since it can trap ash and other harmful pollutants that get into the air because of drifting smoke.

But we also want to make something clear about cleaning and purifying your air: the HVAC air filter, the same one we want you to change regularly so not to damage air quality, is not actually an indoor air quality system. It isn’t an air purifier, it isn’t an air scrubber, it isn’t designed to improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe. If you are looking for better indoor air quality, talk to us to install a dedicated air purification system and/or install an air purifier in Mission Viejo, CA.

So What’s the HVAC Filter For?

It serves an important job, which is to protect the interior of the HVAC system. The filter is placed where the return air ducts meet the HVAC cabinet, so all the air the blower draws from the house and through the AC and furnace must first pass through this filter. The filter is strong enough to stop the larger pollutants and contaminants in the air from the house, which is often filled with dust, lint, dander, and other loose debris. If these contaminants are allowed to pass into the interior of the HVAC cabinet, they can easily damage the blower, the motors, the condenser coils of the AC, and other components.

Although the filter stops these large contaminants, it doesn’t help much with the air going to the house: the impact on air quality is minimal. The only way it can have a big effect on air quality is to worsen it if the filter becomes clogged. This is why we recommend changing it regularly during fire season. A clogged air filter can also allow mold and mildew growth, which will send unpleasant odors around the house. In general, the filter needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months to stop it from harming HVAC efficiency.

What Kind of Air Filters Will Improve IAQ?

To enjoy healthier air quality in your house, you’ll need a special dedicated air filtration system installed into the ductwork. We don’t recommend trying to purchase these filters on your own, since it’s essential the filters are matched to the rest of the HVAC system or it will restrict airflow. This will cause a rise in pressure that will lower comfort and possibly damage the HVAC system.

Another option you have is an air purification system. We often recommend an air purifier along with filters: the purifier can target the smaller particles which often slip through filters, such as odor molecules, smoke, chemicals, and even bacteria and viruses.

We have many different methods to help you enjoy the best possible air quality in your house, and we’re happy to discuss them with you!

Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Call us to learn more about our indoor air quality installations.

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