Guide: How Often You Should Change You Air Filters
Surprisingly, one of the best ways to care for your HVAC system is regular air filter replacement. Dirty air filters are a major culprit in HVAC malfunctions and can cause damage over time. Dirty air filters also increase energy bills and destroy the air quality in your home. When was the last time you changed your air filter? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone. It is an easily forgotten task by many. Most homeowners aren’t HVAC experts. How often should you change your air filters and furnace filters? Every home is different, but the professionals at Cardinal have compiled a guide to how often you should change your air filters. Read below to learn more.
How Do Air Filters Work?Air filters are much like coffee filters or pool filters, except they preserve the air quality of your home and keep pollutants out of the HVAC components. They sit in a return air duct and block contaminants such as dirt, lint, hair, dust, bacteria and more from entering your home. Most air filters are fiberglass or paper with a cardboard frame. There are usually at least 1 or 2 in your home, most likely in your hallway or bedroom. Air filters come in multiple shapes and sizes for different house needs and have a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value). The MERV is the size and type of contaminants that the filter can protect against.
How long do Air Filters Last?It’s hard to know how long an air filter will last unless you also know how the conditions of your home affect the lifespan. Use these parameters to determine how long your air filters will last:
Amount of UsageYou will likely not use your air conditioning in the winter or your furnace in the summer. Therefore, you will not be using their air filters. If the climate around your house is mild, then you may only need 1 or 2 air filters to last the whole season. If you live in an extreme climate or prefer to leave the fan running for longer periods, you will need to replace your air filters every three weeks to maintain the highest HVAC efficiency.
House SizeIn the age of van-lifestyles and mini-houses, the appliances can be smaller. If the appliance’s space is smaller, it will require less energy to keep the space cool. However, a smaller filter will also need to be changed more often. Take note of the ratio between the size of your unit and the size of your home to decide if you should wait longer periods to change your filter.
Air QualityThe climate of the area around your home also affects the lifespan of an air filter. If the air around contains more contaminates or dust due to construction, you will need to keep the filters changed more often. Pets also affect the air quality. We will discuss that below.
How do I Know I Need to Replace my Airfilter?Anytime you turn on the fan for warm air or cold, the air will pass through the air filter. That’s why you must change your air filters frequently. If you don’t change your filters, they will no longer filter the air correctly, allowing dust and bacteria to clog the HVAC system. Here are the symptoms of a clogged air filter:
- The HVAC system is damaged or malfunctioning.
- There is a lack of airflow or drafts.
- The air is dusty, or you have often been sneezing.
- Cause contaminates to build up in your ductwork.
- Electric bill payments have recently increased.
- The air filter itself is too dirty to see through.