When and why should I change my air filter?

Air FilterYou probably hear from your HVAC technician that you should make sure that you’re keeping up on air filters changes for your HVAC system. You may wonder why this is such an important maintenance tip, or you may wonder when you should change out your air filter. Home Air Plus has some general tips to help keep up the health of your HVAC system.

Why should I change out my air filter according to the time frame my HVAC technician says?

Just like changing out an oil filter in your car, an HVAC system air filter is designed to pull out harmful contaminants in the air and filter them out. Not only is the air filter taking those harmful pieces from your breathing air, but it’s also removing it from the “breathing air” for your HVAC system as well. If an air filter becomes too clogged, it can cause your HVAC system to “gasp” for air — meaning your HVAC system is really working overtime to try to get the right amount of air to function properly, like heating or cooling your home. Your air filters helps to remove pollutants from the air, and the most effective way to do that is to make sure that the filter gets changed out regularly.

An air filter can remove these harmful pollutants, even if you can’t see them:

  • Dirt & dust
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Germs & viruses
  • Dead skin & pet dander
  • Smoke
  • Chemical fumes
  • Auto emissions
  • Pollen & allergens

How do I know when to change out my HVAC air filter?

You can ask your HVAC technician when to switch out your air filter specifically, but generally if your HVAC system is in a mostly unused house (such as a summer house), you can expect to switch it out once every 6 to 12 months. Otherwise, for normal homes, a standard filter should be changed out minimum of 1 month and maximum of 3 months. High efficiency filters can have a longer range of time in place with the minimum being 6 months and the maximum being 12 months. It really is worth it to spend the extra few bucks at the hardware store to get a quality air filter for your HVAC system!

Setting yourself a reminder in your phone or your calendar can be helpful. Don’t forget when you do change out your air filter, write the date on the side of the air filter that you can see — that way you won’t forget when you put the air filter into place.

If you have your HVAC system in a damp place such as a basement, you want to make sure you always swap out your filter after long periods of inactivity. For example, if your furnace is in the basement and you don’t use it in the summer, make sure you change out your air filter before you run your furnace in the winter. The reason for this is that, just like anything in a moist basement, mold can form on the cardboard, fabric, or elsewhere on a filter that does not have air passing through it. Better to toss out that old filter than potentially shoot mold spores through your home, don’t you think?

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