When Should I Change My Furnace's Air Filter?

February 26, 2015

Sometimes we’re asked what is the best thing that Voorhees area homeowner's can do to secure their air conditioning and heating system between their regular PLUS Maintenance Tune-ups? The answer is simple this; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Buying new furnace and return air filters is crucial to the effectiveness of your HVAC system, as well as your home's air quality. Did you know indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks? It’s not thought of often, but it is extremely important to consider. Changing the air filters is not all that hard for most Voorhees homeowners, but there are often two hurdles to actually getting it done:

  1. Determining just how often to change your furnace or air conditioner filter.
  2. Changing them when you’re suppose to.

When To Change Your Air Filters

Most filters have a recommended guideline on the box or plastic. It may instruct "Lasts up to 3 months" or "Change filter every 90 days". Check out the filters at the store and you'll see that some are meant to only last one month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have produced media air cleaners with filters meant to be changed once every 6-12 months. The standard seems to be once every 3 months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we suggest our readers to go by. If they're dirty, change them! A dirty air filter can contribute or cause damage to expensive parts, like your compressor, so it's best to change it out more often than not. If you want to follow the manufacturer's recommended limit, we suggest writing the date on the filter when you swap it out, and setting 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 unit manufacturer.

Choosing how often to change your air filters hinges on several factors:

  • Type of filter your A/C system requires
  • The entire air quality of your Voorhees area home
  • Pets – Dogs, cats, etc.
  • Number of occupants in the house
  • General air pollution in the Voorhees area or construction taking place nearby

For the common 1"-3" air filters, the manufacturers basically tell you to change them every 30-60 days, which is in fact a great rule of thumb. But general rules aren't always for everybody. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you might require an upgraded air filter or change them even more frequently than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you're in a low population area, own a infrequently 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 seriously reduced HVAC performance.

In summary:

  • Seldom used home or single occupant homes without pets or allergies: Change 6-12 months
  • Average suburban home without pets: Change every 90 days
  • House with a pet: Change every 60 days
  • Multiple pets or have allergies: Change every 30-45 days

How To Remember To Change Air Filters

It's simple; sign up for the Service Experts Email Club. This is a great to receive discounts on service, tips and other helpful information directly to your email. But wait… there’s more, your email subscription preferences let’s you set a reminder to change your Voorhees area home's air filter every 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 days, or any date you find most convenient.

How to replace your return air filter

Most of you know how to replace the air filter in their equipment, but some residences have an extra filter in the return ducts. Whether you have one or not is dependent on which HVAC system you have. Your unit is made to handle a set amount of pressure in your house, 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. Finding out whether you have a return filter and replacing it is easy:

  1. Find your return air vents.
  2. Some covers have screws and some have tabs. Unscrew or pull tabs to pull off the wall.
  3. Check for a filter. If one is in place, pull it out and note the size.
  4. Verify the filter type is the one recommended by the manufacturer.
  5. If filter is dirty, replace with the manufacturer's recommended filter of the same size and type.
Crazy as it may seem, filters can dramatically impact your home's airflow, which is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer. A top tier HEPA filter that is designed to catch finer dust will reduce airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes more pressure on your system, so you need to verify that your HVAC system was made to handle it. Otherwise, you may experience lowered heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and unit parts may break down much faster than normal.

 

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