The Importance of Regular HVAC Filter Replacement
We’re referring to HVAC filters. And that encompasses all types of air filters — whether they be furnace filters or ac filters, or both.
No matter how “smart” or efficient your central air conditioning system or furnace is, of the sizes of HVAC, your home comfort system still requires regular filter replacement.
The good news is that filter replacement is simple and easy to do. And, so long as you set a reminder, you can achieve exactly what you need with a minimum of fuss.
How Often Should You Change Your AC Filter?
The basic rule is that you should change your furnace and ac air filters every 90 days or 3 months. Doing so helps your system to run at peak efficiency and deliver clean air throughout your home at the perfect temperature. And residential air filters are easy to change.
However, there are some exceptions to that rule – depending on your personal health and what else may be present in your home. So, when you ask, how often should HVAC filters be changed, understand that it may depend on certain factors.
Reasons You Should Change Your HVAC Air Filter More Often
There are reasons to change your air filters more often than the typical 90 days/3 months cycle.
The consensus is, the more goes on inside your home, the more you need to change your air filter (which is why vacation homes and rental homes can go much longer between filter changes).
That’s because your filters are cleaning A LOT out of the air that circulates around your home. Filters catch dust, pollen, smoke, hair, pet dander, and more – modern HEPA filters can even filter out tiny things, such as some molecules.
Because of this, air filters can get clogged quickly in homes with certain factors. And when a air filters becomes clogged, they drain the efficiency and affect the overall cleanliness of your HVAC system.
For example, if your home has more than one pet, you should consider changing your air conditioner/heating system air filters every 60 days, or 2 months. Pet dander is a common reason for clogged air filters.
But that’s not the only reason. Let’s look at few more factors that mean you should change your air filters more often than normal.
Allergies & Asthma
If you suffer from seasonal or indoor allergies, or if you have respiratory conditions – such as asthma – it is recommended that you change your air filters 20-45 days.
Doing so will ensure that the air you breathe is cleaner/less full of irritants. And, if you do have breathing concerns or allergy problems, you should talk to your HVAC contractor and see if there are other steps you could take to ensure a cleaner home – such as next generation air filters or even air purifiers.
Reduce Your Energy Costs With Clean Air Filters
Changing your furnace filters and ac air filters more often ensures that your HVAC system runs at peak efficiency and even extends its lifespan.
Why? Because letting dust and contaminants get into the HVAC system will jam the moving parts of an AC such as fan motors and valves. It also restricts airflow, which creates a strain on the system. When this happens, the HVAC system will draw more power to overcome the obstacle.
This is how dirty filters make your HVAC less energy efficient and leads to breakdowns.
Outside And Indoor Air Quality
During the change of seasons, you expect the weather and what’s in the air to take a toll on you when you go outside, right? Well, the same happens to your HVAC – maybe not in the exact same way, but certainly in a similar method.
That is because pollens released by plants enter your indoor HVAC the same way they enter your body and produce a response – causing sneezing and drainage in your body and clogging your filters in your HVAC.
The same goes for hot summer days when the air quality may be lower. That same dirty air enters your home any time you open a door or window and eventually gets into your ventilation system, where your furnace filter and ac filter must deal with the extra dirt in the indoor air.
Changing your air filter more frequently when you know the outdoor air is compromised leads to better air quality indoors.
Improve Airflow & Efficiency of Your Furnace
When dirty air moves through your home’s ventilation systems and reaches your furnace filter and ac filter, much of it gets cleansed from the air by said filter. However, as your filter continues to cleanse the air, the dirt and grime that it cleanses from the air actually begins to block the filter itself – laying on top of the filter and blocking the free flow of air.
When this happens, your HVAC system – specifically the thermostat – begins to notice that it is harder to reach the temperature you’ve set for it. Therefore, the thermostat tells your HVAC to work harder and longer to reach said temperature. This creates more energy usage and reduces the efficiency of your entire HVAC system.
Increase the Longevity of Your Furnace or AC System
By changing the air filter in your home’s cooling and heating system at the suggested intervals, you allow your air conditioner and heater to run at peak efficiency – which ensures that they only run as much as necessary to achieve the comfort level you desire.
Just like a car’s engine, the less your HVAC components run, the longer they will last.
How Do I Know When my HVAC Air Filter Needs to be Replaced?
There are some simple signs you can look for that will let you know if it is time to change your HVAC filter. Remember this checklist as a sort of air filters 101 guide and you’ll never need to worry about whether your heating and cooling system needs help.
Finding the Right Air Conditioner Replacement Air Filter — MERV rating
There are multiple levels of filtration available for use in home HVAC systems. And even the most basic filters do a solid job of cleaning the air inside your home. However, if you are looking for filters that are more precise in their ability to clean you should keep your eye out for the MERV rating.
An acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), MERV ratings display that filter’s ability to capture particles that measure between 0.3 and 10 microns. MERV numbers generally run between 4-20 on most filters.
We recommend air filters that rate between 8-13 MERV for homes and 14-20 MERV for highly sanitized spaces.
You can also purchase highly rated HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters – which are pleated filters that can remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 micron. Most air filters are made of fiberglass. However, HEPA filters are different in that they are pleated air filters. This pleated filter style offers the highest filter performance rating — higher than fiberglass air filters. So, remember the acronyms MERV and HEPA when looking for new air filters and judging high quality for versus discount air filters.
Vents Are Full of Dust and Dirt
If you see any dust and/or dirt congregating around the mouth of your air vents, it’s a good sign that there is too much dirt and dust circulating through your ductwork. That means that the dust and dirt is getting through your filter, and it’s time to change it.
Air Filter Looks Dirty or Clogged
If you are curious about the state of your filter, go and have a look. Those filters that are covered in dust and dirt are ready to be replaced. A good rule of thumb is to look at your filter about once a month.
If you can see debris, dirt, and/or grime on it, it’s a dirty air filter, and it’s time for a change.
HVAC System Takes Longer to Heat or Cool Your Home
If you notice that your air conditioner or heater is not responding like it used to, it could be a sign of a clogged filter. As we explained earlier, a clogged filter means that less air is circulating through your ventilation, which means that your HVAC system has to work longer and harder to achieve the temperatures you demand of it.
You Have Higher Energy Bills
Just like above, when your HVAC system works longer and harder, that means it’s using more energy. When it uses more energy, your energy bills will be higher.
Keep an eye on your energy bills, and if they begin increasing without a discernable reason – such as weather extremes – you should go and check your air filters today. AC filter replacements can go a long way in lowering your energy bills.
AC Unit is Hot to The Touch
Again, this is in reference to your air conditioner working harder due. If a clogged filter is to blame, your air conditioner may literally feel hot – or even put out hot air.
Other factors could be at play when this happens, but the first thing you should check is your filter. It could be as simple as that.
You Can’t Remember the Last Time the Air Filter Was Changed
If you find yourself wondering when the last time your filter was changed, it’s best to go have a look and check the condition of the filter.
A new air filter won’t break your bank — no matter the MERV number — and it’s better to be safe than sorry if you cannot remember the last time it was changed.
What Size Filter Do I Need?
If you know that it’s time for replacement filters but are wondering what filter size you need, there are some simple things you can do to determine right choice. Selecting replacement air filters is not complicated, but there are things to consider when selecting to ensure the right filter:
Check your current air filter – The dimensions will be printed on the side of the filter. Dimensions are displayed as length, width, and depth (for example: 20x20x1)
Measure it – Use a tape measure to get the size of your existing air filter. Determine the size in inches (called “actual dimensions”). However, know that these numbers may not be round. But there’s no need to worry, as many air filters are not cut to an exact size. Normally, air filters are around 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch smaller than advertised. This means that if your air conditioning system is designed for 20x20x1 but the numbers are slightly off, the filter will still fit. They do not have to be perfectly measured to the inch air filters.
Check your HVAC owner’s manual – This will tell you the right size or air conditioner filters or furnace filter, or you can contact the manufacturer directly with your system model number and use that information as an air filter buying guide.
How to Change an AC Filter in Your Home.
No matter how modern or advanced your furnace or air conditioning system may be, changing your air filter should be a pretty simple process. Follow these steps for new air filter success:
- Shut the HVAC unit off.
- Remove the access panels to get to the filter.
- Remove the old HVAC filter.
- Insert the new HVAC filter.
- Close the access panels and turn the HVAC unit back on.
Call CAS for All your HVAC Maintenance and Repair Needs
If you do not have time or do not trust yourself to handle changing your HVAC air filter there is no need to worry. At Conditioned Air Systems, we’ve been helping homeowners throughout north Georgia stay comfortable – no matter the weather outside – at peak efficiency since we opened our doors in 1983. And we’re always happy to help you reach peak comfort – no matter the situation.
Whether it’s changing filters, repairing a broken air conditioner or furnace, or installing an entirely new HVAC system, we’re here and ready to help. And we can help you choose the right size and MERV ratings, so that you achieve peak filtration with easy filter delivery.
Please contact us today at 770-536-7509 and let us make you comfortable – at unbeatable furnace filter pricing and AC filter pricing.