Changing the air filters for your HVAC unit should be a regular practice for all homeowners. It helps in maintaining clean air circulation in your house and ensuring indoor comfort.
However, a question that many homeowners find themselves grappling with is — how often should you change your air filter each year?
Well, there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. But, generally, the standard timeline for changing air filters in an HVAC unit is every three months.
In this article, we shall highlight the importance of changing HVAC air filters, as well as when is the best time to do so. We shall also delve into the factors to consider when changing the air filters in a home.
Let’s dive right in:
Ideally, you should change the air filters every three months or so. As you consider changing them, there are factors that you should look out for.
Some of these factors include:
Having pets in your home influences the frequency at which you need to change your air filters. In most cases, pets (cats and dogs) usually shed fur all over the place. And this causes dust, and dander that interfere with your home’s air circulation.
It gets worse if you have multiple pets. The accumulation of dust, dander, and fur affects the operations of your HVAC unit. Therefore, you should replace your air filters every four to six weeks to ensure that your indoor air remains clean.
- Type of Air Filter
The type of air filter is another determinant of when you should change it. Some are more effective than others. For instance, lower-quality fiberglass filters are inexpensive but not durable. Therefore, you should replace them every month.
For pleated ones, they are very effective and of high quality in trapping dust and debris. They last up to 90 days.
If you have young kids in your home, maintaining the air quality in your house should always be high on your priority list. Childrens’ immune systems are quite weak, and lack of enough air circulation can potentially lead to health problems in the future.
In this regard, change the filter every two months or so. It will promote a healthy space for your kids to live in.
- Asthma and Allergies
If you suffer from asthma and/or allergies, your home should always have the best air circulation. A pinch of debris or dust can lead to serious asthma attacks or allergic reactions.
So, to maintain clean air in your home, change the air filters after 50 days.
- Home Use
You cannot compare a regularly used home to a vacation home in terms of air circulation requirements. If your home unit is used regularly, change the filters after three months or even less. If you only use the house once in a while, you can do it after six months.
Besides frequently replacing your air filters, it is important to inspect them visually. Do it every month to ensure that there is no particle accumulation. If the dirty filter is layered with debris and dust, it is advisable to change them even when they have not reached the recommended changing timeline.
When it is time to change your air filters, do the following:
- Buy the right size filter: to know the size of your air filter, examine the old filter. This should be found on one of the sides of the air filter. If you cannot find the size of your old filter, use a tape measure to know its length, width, and depth.
- Switch off your unit: turn off the thermostat to switch off your unit. Alternatively, you can completely switch it off at the circuit breaker.
- Find the filter: the air filter is usually found in one or two places; an air handler (located in the utility closet, basement, or attic) or in the return duct.
- Remove the cover or grille to the air filter: open the access panel if your filter is in the unit’s air handler. Get a screwdriver to get rid of the small screws around it. Flip the latches that support the grille and get rid of them if it is in the return duct.
- Do away with the old filter and insert another one: remove the old filter and note how it looks in the grille or cover. Place the new air filter inside, ensuring that the airflow arrows point towards the unit.
- Restore the cover and switch on your unit: switch your unit back on after changing your filters and ensure that the filter is placed correctly. If the unit does not operate smoothly, reach out to an HVAC professional for assistance.
So, how often should you change your home air filter? Well, you now know that it depends on the type of unit, overall usage, presence of pets and much more.
But, it’s prudent to understand the benefits that come with changing your filters regularly. These include:
- Cleaner Home
Regularly changing your air filters assists in cutting down hair, fur, and dust particles on your shelves, floors, etc. Therefore, when cleaning your house, this saves you a lot of time and energy.
- Clean Indoor Air Quality
Your air filters collect all types of particles, dander, hair, spores, and dust pumped via your air conditioning unit. Breathing these things can be harmful to your and your family’s well being.
Subsequently, changing the filters frequently ensures that your home is fresher, healthier, and cleaner. Examine your filters at least once a month.
- Seasonal Allergy Relief and Better Health
Cleaner indoor air assists in minimizing asthma and allergies. If you suffer from an itchy nose, difficulty breathing, and congestion, try replacing your air filters more often.
You can also consider a home filtration system for the same. Maintaining air filters can even help you sleep at night.
- Improved System Efficiency
Lastly, frequently changing your air filters aids your HVAC unit in performing more efficiently. Your system lasts longer and requires less maintenance. And it saves you money from energy bills.
A system that is functioning optimally ensures that you get the comfort you need at the lowest possible cost.