Changing your air filters is one of those pesky tasks that, in truth, many of us tend to put off. We often take filters for granted, but when they aren’t doing their jobs properly, they can wreak havoc on our HVAC systems. After all, HVAC stands for Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning – meaning that those vents actually have very important jobs. It’s important to know why they need to be taken care of and how often they need to be changed.
Why to Keep Your Filter Fresh
Comfort and Air Quality
A clogged filter won’t let air circulate properly through your heating and cooling systems, and therefore will let dirty air and contaminants into your home, sacrificing air quality. You will also find that it may make your home look and feel dirtier, along with causing health issues such as allergies.
The dirty filter will also be unable to keep the HVAC systems running as well as they should, causing a decline in comfort from heat or air conditioning. The systems will then have to work even harder to circulate air throughout, potentially causing overheating and even complete breakdowns.
The dirty furnace filter, as mentioned above, is more of a burden on your HVAC systems than the helper that it is supposed to be. This leaves every component of your heating and air conditioning system doing more work than it is meant to, drawing additional energy to do so. Less energy is consumed with a clean air filter.
How Often to Change Your Filter
Any filter that has been in place for over six months is likely ready to be replaced; however, this is often much longer than some of them last.
Type of Air Filter
More efficient filters are meant to last for longer periods of time, so be sure to pay attention when you install a new one. The manufacturer will have its recommendations on how soon a replacement will be needed, and adjustments will need to be made based on other factors.
Pets and Occupants
Again, you will want to take into account the manufacturer’s recommendations, but there are variations. For example, an unoccupied home (such as a vacation home), can go up to a year without being changed. The vents in a single person household can last up to six months, whereas family households should be left no longer than 90 days. Homes with a single pet should reduce that time to 60 days, and multiple pet households should decrease the number of days to 30 at most.
Occupants with allergies could benefit from changing their filter more frequently (even monthly), or as the allergy seasons shift.
Signs That It’s Time to Change Your Home Air Filters
It’s always smart to keep track of how long you have had your filters vs. how long they are meant to last, but here are some indicators that can signal to you that it’s time to change your filter.
Dirt, Dust, and Damage on the Filter
The first, and most obvious indicator that it’s time for a new air filter is the filter itself. If it has dust clogging up the vented areas, or if it is damaged in any way, it likely is not functioning properly. It should be thrown out and replaced with a new one. Even light damage such as a small hole, tear, or even a wrinkle can compromise its ability to block air contamination.
Conditions are Dusty
A dirty or clogged filter will be unable to remove the pollutants that it is meant to block. Dust accumulating around the filter means that it is past its prime and is no longer able to do the job of keeping your air quality at a safe level.
Your Heating and Cooling Systems are Cycling Longer
The air filter affects both your heating and cooling systems by ensuring that dust and other small particles don’t become trapped within them. If you notice that these systems are running irregularly or on longer cycles, it could be a sign that the air filters are too old or damaged to do their part maintaining the systems.
Allergies are Acting Up
If you have a family member who suffers from asthma or allergies, you already know how important indoor air quality is. If this person seems to be struggling with these symptoms, it could have to do with your air filter. They are designed to block particles, including dust and dirt, from damaging your air conditioner and polluting the air of your home.
Need help putting new filters in, or this your HVAC system is acting up? Contact AirOne Heating & Air Conditioning for more information or for an HVAC repair in San Marcos, TX.