The most important thing you can do to take care of your HVAC system is to regularly change the air filter. This keeps everything working efficiently and uses less energy. We can all use that right now. So, get off the couch and change your air filter, damnit! Easy for us to say; we know there’s more to it than that and we’ve got the answers (we hope.)
How Often is Juuust Right?
It depends on your lifestyle, climate and possible health issues for you and your family. Most HVAC manufacturers recommend changing the filter quarterly, or four times a year. There are also different kinds of filters. Our Fit Guide can help you figure out the best type for your home and lifestyle.
Do you have pets? Controlling shedding, pet odors and dander require changing air filters more often. Most likely every two months or six times a year.
Anyone with allergies or asthma in your home? Indoor air is a haven for allergens, dust mites and even mold. Changing your air filter every one to two months can help minimize the effects of these and lessen dust accumulation. Dust less often? Yes, please!
BTW, you might think the fuzz you see floating in the air is just that: fuzz. It’s more than that. Dust and airborne particulates inside your house are mostly biologicals. That’s right – hair and skin cells with some pollen, VOCs and chemicals thrown in. We’re constantly molting, and if you’re not keeping your house clean and your air fresh, you’re just living among your yesterday-self. Eewww…
“Without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”
– Patrick Ness, author/screenwriter
Things Affecting the Lifespan of your HVAC Filter
How often you use your heating and cooling system
If you live in a mild climate and only run your HVAC for a two to three hours a day, a filter may last up to an entire year. On the flip side, if you’re system run nearly continuously, the filter should be changed a minimum of every three months.
The air quality in your outdoor climate
Your system probably has a replacement cycle to keep fresh air coming into your house on a regular basis. Your air quality inside is affected by the air quality outside. If you have poor air quality outside, you’ll need to replace your air filter more frequently. The American Lung Association even track this in their annual State of the Air report. If you’re curious – like we are – you can look up your air by zip code.
A dirty air filter (Should be #1, but we’re being humble…)
Have you ever made coffee and the filter gets clogged? The coffee-water full of grounds starts sizzling on the hot-plate and pouring out all over the counter. The same thing happens when you have a dirty air filter. Like the coffee, pre-filtered air has to go somewhere so it pushes around the edges of your cardboard filter frame straight into your furnace, then your home. That’s called “blow-by.” All that stuff in the fuzz we talked about is now gunking up your furnace and caking on the inside of your duct work. Think about that…
But seriously, a clogged air filter reduces airflow, meaning your HVAC is working extra hard to move dirty air through your home because the filter can’t remove particulates and contaminates as well as it should.
How to Tell When it’s Time?
Air filters and furnace filters should be checked at least once a month. Remove the air filter and hold it up to a light. If the light shines through, you’re good. Put it back in and check it again in a month. Pretty simple. When the light doesn’t shine through or is just dimly showing, change the filter.
Remembering to check it is the hard part. So, check your air filter when you pay your bills or as part of some other monthly activity. After a few months, you’ll know how often your filter needs to be changed. And, at Yoor Air, our subscription-based solution helps to keep you on track…delivering the best damn air filters to your doorstep right on time.