Changing air filters regularly is critical to the long-term maintenance of your HVAC system. However, most homeowners don’t change or even check their filters regularly. For some reason when it comes to air filters, out of sight often means out of mind.
Unfortunately this inattention can lead to a host of problems. Dirty air filters not only cause your units to be less efficient at heating and cooling, but they can also lead to costly repairs down the line – not to mention possible safety hazard! Some older home-heating systems units that don’t have now-common safety measures, such as an automatic shut off if they overheat. In this case, overheating can cause the furnace to catch fire with potentially catastrophic results.
So, How Often Should You Change Your Air Filters?
The short answer: it depends. There are a number of factors that can affect how often the filter needs to be changed, and answer should be customized to your specific home. A good rule of thumb is to check once a month, but take into consideration the following:
Number of People in the House – It makes sense that the more people coming and going in the home the more dirt and dust they bring in and kick around.
Presence of Pets – We love ‘em, too, but dogs, cats and other furry pets can plenty of dander around your home. If you have pets, particularly those that shed, you’ll probably need to change your air filters more regularly than non-pet households.
Nearby Construction? Construction creates all kinds of dust – if there’s a new house going in on your street, or perhaps you’re having a pool installed (lucky you!), make a note to check your air filter. You may find it needs to be changed more frequently than usual.
How Does the Air Quality Feel? – Some people can “just tell” when it’s time for a new filter. They suffer more from allergies or can tell a difference in breathing. If you notice the air simply doesn’t feel as fresh and clean as it used to, it could be a sign that it’s time to change.
Air Pollution – If you are in an area that is experiencing high pollution you’ll definitely want to check your air filters frequently.
Do They Appear Dirty? – This common sense task is the most easy and effective way to tell if it’s time to change your air filters. Take an extra few minutes to check them out regularly. If they appear dirty, it’s time to change.
We understand that changing an air filter isn’t at the top of anyone’s list of fun things to do. However, it’s much easier and cheaper to prevent costly repairs than to deal with them unexpectedly. So make a note on your calendar, put a reminder in your phone or do whatever you need to do to remind yourself. Your health – and your wallet – will thank you.