replacing home hvac air filter
June 29, 2021

When it comes to maintaining your high Indoor Air Quality, it’s important to keep your filters clean. Dirty filters will work against even the highest-performing system and result in poor air quality throughout your house, which is why it’s recommended that filters be replaced on a regular basis to eliminate allergens, like dust mites and unhealthy particulates from your air.

Changing a filter is a relatively simple task, but with so many HVAC filter type available on the market, identifying the best kind of filter you should use to ensure you have clean indoor air can feel overwhelming. 

A common starting point is exploring a filter’s MERV rating.

What is MERV?

According to the EPA, Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, also referred to as MERVs, describe a filter's capacity to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns, and can offer useful guidance in comparing different filters for your AC. Typically, the higher a filter’s rating is on a scale of 1 to 16, the more particulates it is capable of filtering out of your air.

A high MERV rating isn’t everything, though. While it sounds ideal to have a level 16 MERV filter, extreme filtration isn’t compatible with every system: what you might think you’d gain in filtration, you lose in efficiency due to the increase in static pressure on your system. The result? Poor air flow and poor air quality. 

We recommend traditional filters with a MERV rating of no higher than 8 for most home HVAC systems. These will filter your house’s air effectively with no restriction of air flow. The best filters for most systems are media filters, which offer a number of advantages over traditional 1” filters:

  • More surface area to filter out particulates

  • Avoid static pressure

  • Create a tight seal for 100% air filtration

  • Don’t need to be replaced as often

How Often Should I Replace my Filters?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. We recommend checking the guidelines listed in your unit’s manual as a starting point.

From there, consider the number of people living in your home, their allergies to airborne contaminants, whether you have pets, how many pets you have, and other factors that come to mind related to your air quality (cooking, household projects like painting, etc.). These factors are all smart to consider when deciding how often you should change your air filters. 

Not feeling confident about caring for your home’s AC filters on your own? With over 40 years experience working on Virginia homes, we are here to help with a variety of Residential Heating & Cooling and HVAC Services to help you keep your air clean and your home comfortable.

Don’t let dirty air leave you dismayed. Call (VA) 757-995-2807 / (NC) 252-489-4431 or contact us today to keep your AC filters fresh and clean year-round.

Confused about air filter MERV ratings?

Let us help!

(VA) 757-995-2807 / (NC) 252-489-4431

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Maintenance Plans

Russell's HVAC, HVAC service technician, VA

Regular annual maintenance keeps your system operating at peak efficiency. Experience has shown that a system that runs well keeps your utility costs in line — in fact, independent 3rd party research shows that you can save over $30 per month on utility bills.


Just like your annual physical at the doctor’s office keeps you healthy, an annual tune-up or safety and efficiency check on your heating and cooling systems can keep your home working smoothly.

What Our Customers Are Saying

  • I can't complement your team enough on the wonderful job done with regard to the installation of the new system in our home. More specifically, we want to recognize the outstanding efforts of: Roberto-- the initial visit and diagnosis of the problem.

    Dan & Connie, Virginia Beach
  • I recently had your team install a new gas package unit including all new duct work at my house in Chesapeake. I had a split system that had undersized ducting which was removed by your installers.

    Mike & Sandi, Chesapeake, VA
  • We purchased a one time service for $79. They came out on time, checked out the geothermal system...they were very professional and kind.

    Nicholas H., Chesapeake, VA
  • We would like to thank your company for an excellent job. We are very pleased with the new (Mitsubishi ductless mini split) system that was installed last week. It works wonderfully at heating our home.

    Danny and Teresa S., Chesapeake, VA
  • Not one single idea for improvement. Keep doing what you do. OUTSTANDING!

    Charles J., Norfolk, VA
  • Great job!...World class employees!

    Colleen & Jim C., Suffolk, VA
  • Everything went great! This is the second big project we've had done through Russell's and we couldn't be more happy! We had the most dedicated, polite, and respectful crew! The team consisted of Elliot, Chase and Sean. Sean was here for the removal process on day one, and did awesome!

    J. Luhan, VA Beach
  • Hi Nate, please pass along our appreciation for you, Elliot and Steve. We are very happy with you being able to arrange our ( Lennox ) replacement system so quickly!

    T. Johnson, VA Beach
  • Thank you for running a top notch company and sending over to us two excellent folks Terry and Shawn. They did an awesome job putting in our new furnace system. Also thank you for Donald and Nate who did a superb job as well. Please reward these guys with some sort of commendations or rewards....

  • ...folks need to know how wonderful working with Russell's Heating & Air Conditioning is. They were very professional all the way thru the process of getting our unit installed down to the payment plan. I have been telling our neighbors and my co-workers about the experience.

    Pamela F., Chesapeake, VA
  • Every moment from the time an appointment was set up until the day the work was completed was a pleasure. Every employee was a delight to work with. The proof that the product was great came when the electric bills started coming in the airconditioning season.

    Douglas P., VA Beach
  • I am extremely satisfied with both the Lennox unit I purchased and the employees of Russell's. Even with poor window and door quality in this overly tired house, I am actually cooled off sufficiently enough to call it chilly.

    Robin W., Chesapeake, VA
  • Over the years I have gained the utmost trust in my service technician Corey Lesko's knowledge and work ethic while servicing my system.

  • I am writing this letter to commend your company on a great job! We were very pleased with how the company performed in every area...the installers did an impeccable job. They were very knowledgeable, efficient, and hard workers—staying focused to the task in the extreme heat.

    Pastor Larry E. O'Brien, Churchland Assembly of God
  • A year ago, I contracted with Russell's to tune up and clean the heating and cooling system. How impressively your specialist cleaned my system...he also found a defective automatic (programmable) thermostat. Quite quickly, he replaced my automatic thermostat. The results?

    R. Snider, Norfolk, VA
  • You recently installed a new Trane unit for us. We want you to know we are completely satisfied. The outside unit is now a hum versus the roar of the old one...we also want to recognize the installer...we cannot overstate what we think of his workmanship.

    K. Hawkins, Portsmouth, VA
  • Great and prompt service – as usual. Everything from ordering the a/c unit to installation went smoothly. Thanks for everything.

    B. Fenstermaker, VA Beach
  • Everyone was very nice. I felt well informed about my purchase. Your staff is great! I don't usually return opinion forms, but you need to know you have a staff you can be proud of!

    V. Horn, Chesapeake, VA
  • You have a new customer for life and I will definitely tell all my friends about your prompt, courteous service, your knowledgeable technicians, and your very reasonable prices. Thank you very much Russell's. You warmed much more than just my heart!

    G. Knoop, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your company was very responsive to my needs. The quality of your work was extremely high.

    Ms. Bright, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your workers actually made this total replacement project an enjoyable learning experience...they were always willing to stop and answer any questions. Their pleasant and cooperative attitudes cannot be praised enough!

    J. Wellons, Portsmouth, VA
  • Very pleased with both the price and service. The installation went off without a hitch and everything exceeded our expectations. When finished, the work areas, including the attic, were so clean you couldn't tell anything had been done.

    T. Marsh, VA Beach
  • Great expertise and timely service.

    H. Turbeville, Chesapeake, VA