Every once in a while we’re asked what is the most important thing that the U.S. area homeowner’s can do to protect their air conditioning and heating system between their seasonal tune-ups? Our advice is simple; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Buying new furnace and return air filters is crucial to the proper performance of your HVAC system, as well as your home’s air quality. Studies show that indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks? You probably don’t consider it as you sit and watch TV, but this is the air you breathe day and night. Changing the air filters is not a tough thing to do for most the U.S. homeowners, but there are often two challenges to actually completing this job:
Most filters have a recommended guideline on the packaging. It may instruct “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Pay attention at the store and you’ll notice that some are meant to only last one month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have released media air cleaners with filters meant to be exchanged once every 6-12 months. The standard seems to be once every few months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we recommend our customers to go by. If the filter is dirty, change it! A dirty air filter can add or cause damage to pricey equipment, like your compressor, so it’s better to change it out more often than to let it go. If you want to follow the manufacturer’s recommended limit, we suggest marking the date on the filter when you swap it out, and adding a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Also be aware that your filter manufacturer might have a different recommendation from your HVAC system manufacturer.
Figuring out how often to change your air filters relies upon several factors:
For your standard 1″-3″ air filters, the OEM specs basically suggest to change them every 1 or 2 months, which is really a great rule of thumb. But general guidelines are not applicable to all. If you put up with light to moderate allergies, you may need to upgrade the air filter or change them even more regularly than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a remote area, own a seldom occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area with few automobiles and trucks, annual replacement of your air filter may be quite sufficient. Why do we call out our beloved pets? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter in no time, just like a vacuum. Clearly, the air filter is just doing its job by trapping pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause weak HVAC performance.
Here’s an easy way to stay on top of this; sign up for the Service Experts Email Club. This is a convenient way to get money-saving discounts and other helpful information on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. In addition, your email subscription preferences let’s you set a reminder to change your the U.S. area home’s air filter every 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 days, or any date you find most convenient.
Most of you know how to replace the air filter in their equipment, but some residences have an extra filter in the return vent. Whether you have one or not is dependent on what your unit’s manufacturer recommends. Your unit is engineered to handle a maximum amount of pressure in your home, and the more filters you have the more the blower motor works, which can shorten the life expectancy of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Discovering whether you have a return filter and replacing it is easy:
Amazing as it may seem, filters can dramatically affect your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer. A more expensive HEPA filter that is designed to catch smaller debris will reduce airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes greater pressure on your system, so you need to verify that your HVAC system was made to handle it. Otherwise, you might experience lowered heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and unit parts may die off much faster than the standard.
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