One of the easiest and inexpensive things you can do to maintain your HVAC system is to change your air filter regularly. As a general rule, the filter should be replaced every 3 months, or 90 days, especially if your HVAC unit is used year-round. Changing your home air filters not only keep your heating and cooling system working efficiently, but also keeps your energy bills lower. Not to mention, air filters reduce airborne allergens from circulating throughout your house. Needless to say, a filter is a great preventative measure to help your system run efficiently and properly.
Unfortunately, replacing air conditioning and furnace filters is a task many homeowners forget about. Here are some general rules and recommendations you can take to keep your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system operating in tip-top shape.
What Do Air Filters Do in a House?
Most homes have some sort of furnace, heat pump, or HVAC system. Each uses an air filter to help block dust and particles from collecting in your heating and air conditioning system’s internal components. If your system didn’t have an air filter, a few problems could potentially pop up. One, you’ll have no air filtration. Debris will easily make way into your unit causing it to cycle on a high limit and put undue stress on the unit. This could cause serious damage.
Do I Really Need to Change My Air Filter? What Happens If I Don’t Replace My Filter?
A dirty filter can cause damage to your heating and cooling system, and lead to premature failure. Because airflow is negatively affected, your furnace can experience damage to its heat exchanger and your air conditioner’s compressor. Dirty filters also cause short cycling issues (the furnace or AC turns on and off frequently) and put extra stress on the system. While not replacing an air filter seems minor, it can leave homeowners with higher monthly bills, or worse, having to repair or replace their HVAC system.
As a rule of thumb, a great way to determine the need to replace is simply by checking the filter yourself. If your air or furnace filter is full of dust and particles, then it might be time to replace it!
Have Pets? Allergies and/or Asthma? Younger Children?
Air filters are very important for indoor air quality especially if you have pets, children, allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. Indoor air can carry many pollutants especially if your home lacks adequate ventilation. Pet dander, allergens, dust mites, mold, smoke, scents/odors, chemicals, and much more can affect your indoor air quality and trigger respiratory symptoms. The longer a filter is in place, the more dirt, dust, and allergens are trapped. If you’re affected by any of the above, you’ll want to replace your filter every 2 months.
Types of Furnace Filters and Air Conditioner Filters
Most HVAC and furnace filters are made of biodegradable, disposable paper. However, you can find other types of filters including fiberglass/synthetic, pleated, HEPA, and electrostatic filters. There’s also the option of choosing a washable filter. Make sure to buy the appropriate filter for your unit; refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out what type of filter your system needs.
Which Air Filter is Best?
Most filters or their packaging will have a MERV rating on them. MERV stands for a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). This rating can be a useful guide for the effectiveness of the filter and consists of a ranking from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rank, the more efficient the air filter is at trapping dust and particles. If you’re concerned that your current filter might not be as effective as you would like, consider checking the MERV rating.
How To Change Your HVAC Filters
- Make sure you turn your heating and cooling system off before you check or replace your filter.
- Follow the directions that came with the filter to ensure proper installation. Make sure it’s not installed backward or has gaps around the filter frame.
- Clean up any residual dust before and after you replace the filter.
- Keep track of the date you last replaced your filter and ensure you are regularly checking and replacing it. One way to do this is to set a reminder on your phone or calendar. It’s an easy thing to forget.
Call Constellation Home If You Need HVAC Repair or Maintenance Service
Replacing the air filter in your heating and air conditioning system is an easy way to help your system run more efficiently. However, if you are experiencing issues with your HVAC system and changing your filters hasn’t helped, Constellation Home is here for you. Schedule service with our team of certified HVAC technicians or give us a call at 888-243-4663, and our staff will help answer any questions you may have.