Changing your heating and air conditioning air filters is quick and easy to do, but it’s also easy to overlook. Many people don’t realize the importance of this simple task and the negative consequences that can result from using the same air filter for many months.
Air filters play an important role in the quality of your indoor air and the function of your HVAC system. With old and dirty filters, you may begin to suffer symptoms connected to poor air quality and see heating and cooling bills rise.
The Importance of a Clean Air Filter
The air passing through your HVAC system runs through the equipment’s air filter before it circulates through your home. The filter captures pollutants that enter your home from the outdoors. This includes dust, dirt, mold, pet dander, and other allergens. The air filter traps these contaminants before they have the chance to circulate through your home, helping you maintain a healthy indoor air quality.
In addition to removing harmful particles from the air you breathe, filters also prevent these particles from getting into your HVAC system. Contaminants from a dirty filter can make their way into your heating and cooling equipment, and potentially cause damage to or impair the function of your coils, motor or fans. All of these components are crucial to your system’s performance, and problems with any of them will reduce the efficiency of your heater or air conditioner. In the event of damage, repairing or replacing any of these parts will be much more expensive than replacing your air filter.
How Often Should You Change the Air Filter?
The air conditioning experts at ENERGY STAR recommend changing your air filter every three months at a minimum, but if you have pets, if there has been a dust storm, and during peak allergy season it will need to be changed more frequently. Our recommendation is to pick a date on your calendar to check the filter every month. If it looks dirty and full of debris, change it right away.
What Kind of Air Filter Should I Use?
Walk into a Target or Home Depot and you might be surprised by the number of filter choices available. It can be really tempting to just pick the cheapest one of the shelf, but we wouldn’t recommend it and here’s why: basic filters only catch a minimal amount of dust and do almost nothing to protect your home and family from allergens, bacteria, smoke, pet odors, and other particles. Many of them are also made of fiberglass (something we also recommend you avoid) which has a greater permeability than higher quality filters. Companies like Filtrete have come up with guides to help their customers determine what filter is best for their personal lifestyles and health concerns.
Another element to consider is the size of the filter. Obviously, it’s important to check what size of the filter is compatible with your system, but the thickness of the filter can have an impact, too. If the filter is too thin you will run into one of two problems: either the filter will be extremely ineffective at blocking offending particles or the fibers will be spaced too closely together to allow for efficient airflow. The general recommendation is to look for filters that are at least 1” in depth in order to find the happy medium between airflow and filter strength
You can breathe easy with our team at Twin Air in Manassas, VA , give us a call at 703-754-1062 or contact us on our website today.