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Are You Changing Your Air Filter as Often as You Should?

Air Filters

Your air filter may be a small part of your overall HVAC system, but its importance is impossible to understate. Air filters are responsible for giving you clean air to breathe, for keeping your HVAC system running smoothly, for keeping up your energy efficiency, and so much more. A dirty air filter can even be pointed to as the cause for a huge number of problems that your HVAC system can have. And yet despite the fact that they are so incredibly important to your system, the overwhelming majority of homeowners don’t give their air filter the attention it deserves or swap it out as often as they should.

If you aren’t sure how often you should be changing out your filter or even when the last time you checked your filter was, then this blog is for you. Here are some extremely important and valuable tips to help you know when to check your filter and how often you should be changing yours out.

How Often Should I Check My Air Filter?

Checking your air filter is something every homeowner should be doing once every month. Checking your filter is extremely simple: all you have to do is pull it out of its mounting slot and check the side that faces your return register. If your filter appears clean and clear, then you’re good to keep using it. If it appears gray, dirty, or full of debris, then you should swap it out.

We always recommend having several air filters on hand in your home so you can swap your filter out right away if you discover that it’s dirty and needs to be replaced. In order to make sure that you’re checking your filter regularly, we recommend putting a reminder on your phone that alerts you at the same time every month. When the reminder goes off, take a couple of minutes to just check the filter quickly (that’s really all it takes). You’ll be extremely happy you did when you’re breathing easier and your HVAC equipment is running more reliably and efficiently all year long.

How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?

How often should you expect to have to change your air filter? Every month? Six months? Once a year? Unfortunately, we can’t give you an exact number because it differs for everyone. Some small homes may not need to change their air filter for five or six months at a time (or maybe even more), especially if they don’t run their HVAC system all that often. Larger homes with bigger families and other factors that contribute to worsening air quality will need to change their filter more.

We believe that the average home will need to change their filter every three months or so. However, you’ll want to do some testing and regular checking to figure out how long that may be for your own home. If you have any of the following factors that decrease air filter lifespan, then there’s a good chance you may have to replace your filter more often.

  • Pets. Dogs and cats may be our best friend, but they aren’t buddy-buddy with your air filter. Pet hair, animal dander, and dust they track through your home all contribute to your air filter filling up with debris faster, and thus needing more frequent replacements.
  • In-home smokers. Does anyone who lives in your home smoke cigarettes? The smoke will often be pulled through your HVAC system and get caught up in your air filter. The ash and airborne debris will almost certainly be filtered out, but odors can sneak through and proliferate through your ductwork. Cleaning this out to remove the odor can be incredibly difficult work.
  • Running your HVAC fan. Do you choose to keep your HVAC system’s fan running to give you air circulation even when your heating or cooling system isn’t working? Some people do, and this actually contributes to faster air filter decline. If you struggle with poor indoor air quality and need extra air filtration this could be a good thing. However, bear in mind that the more you run this fan, the more air you’re going to pull through your filter, and thus the more often you’re going to have to swap it out.
  • Too fine of a filter grade. If your filter is too fine of a grade for your needs, it’s going to strain more of the particulate matter out of the air than you need. This means not only will you have to change your filter more often, but your system will also be tremendously inefficient and even experience problems from restricted airflow. Hospital operating room-quality air may sound nice in theory, but the truth is your HVAC system isn’t built to give it to you, so it’s not exactly practical for your day to day life. If you are struggling with poor quality air, talk to one of our team members and we can help you find another solution that won’t sacrifice on energy consumption and HVAC system health.

Keep your air clean and dust-free with indoor air quality solutions from A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical! Dial (503) 694-3396 to request a service estimate.