Can I Put Filters on My Air Vents?

Do Filters for Air Vents Work?

While filters for air vents can work effectively at decreasing dust, the biggest drawback is the restricted airflow, which causes your HVAC system to work harder. When your unit works harder it uses more energy and it can potentially cause components to overheat. More stress on the unit means you’ll most likely be facing a costly replacement sooner rather than later.

Depending on who you talk to, HVAC professionals are either opposed or hesitant to agree with the practice of adding vent filters for dust. Most professionals would simply advise that homeowners upgrade their air filters, especially if they currently have the lowest rated MERV filter.

By choosing an air filter with higher MERV, MPR, or FPR ratings, more particulate matter can be captured.  This can be particularly helpful when trying to combat heightened air pollution or asthma and allergy triggers. These air filters can be easily changed through the register in your home. It’s important to note that most newer HVAC units can handle up to a MERV 11 without additional stress, homeowners should always check their unit specifications.

So, Can I Put Filters on My Air Vents?

There are two types of vents in your HVAC system, the return duct and the supply duct. The return duct sucks in air from inside your home, circulates it to the HVAC system to heat or cool it, and then the air is distributed back throughout your home through supply ducts.

Usually, your air filter will sit in your return vent so that your HVAC system is handling clean air, free of particles and debris that can affect sensitive parts like evaporator coils in an air conditioning unit. Then, by the time your air is either cooled or heated, it’s already been filtered and is then distributed back into your home to maintain the correct temperature.

Now since the air is being filtered already, there’s no need for a filter on a supply vent but you may be tempted to install them if you’ve started to notice that those vents have dust and debris build up. In this case, it may be a hint that you have a larger issue, such as leaky ducts, or dirty air ducts. By adding a filter on the supply vent, you’re merely putting a Band-Aid on an issue instead of resolving the main problem – hence why HVAC professionals discourage the practice.

Air quality is vital to home wellness, so ignoring larger issues can be detrimental to your health. It’s best to have an HVAC professional perform regular AC maintenance, check whether air ducts need to be cleaned, and identify if there are any leaky ducts rather than simply adding a filter to a supply vent.

Now that we’ve given you a long-winded answer on whether or not you can put filters on air vents, the short answer is to proceed with caution. Identify potential issues, ensure that your HVAC system can handle the added stress, and speak with an HVAC professional for an honest opinion on how to mitigate dust and improve air quality in your home.

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