Occassionally we’re asked what is the most important thing that the U.S. area homeowner’s can do to ensure efficient functionality of their air conditioning and heating system between their regular tune-ups? The answer is simple this; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Changing furnace and return air filters is extremely important to the effectiveness of your HVAC system, as well as your home’s air quality. Did you know indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks? You probably don’t consider it as you sit and watch TV, but this is the air you breathe day and night. Changing the air filters is not all that hard for most the U.S. homeowners, but there are often two obstacles to actually accomplishing this task:
Most filters have a timeline printed on the wrapping. It may read “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Look around at the store and you should see that some are designed to only last a month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have produced media air cleaners with filters meant to be swapped once every 6-12 months. The norm seems to be once every three months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we tell our customers to go by. If they’re dirty, change them! A dirty air filter can exacerbate or cause damage to costly components, like your compressor, so it’s best to change it out more often than to let it go. If you want to stick to the manufacturer’s recommended limit, we suggest writing the date on the filter when you swap it out, and programming a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Also note that your filter manufacturer may have a different recommendation from your HVAC system manufacturer.
Deciding how often to change your air filters relies upon several factors:
For your typical 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturer specs basically suggest to change them every 30-60 days, which is in fact a great rule of thumb. Still, general rules aren’t always for everybody. If you put up with light to moderate allergies, you might require an upgraded air filter or change them even more frequently than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a less populated area, own a seldom occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area where there are fewer cars around, annual replacement of your air filter may be quite sufficient. Why should you factor in your pets? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter in no time, just like a vacuum. Obviously, the air filter is just doing its job by containing pet hair and dander, but tremendously dirty filters can cause seriously reduced HVAC performance.
Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a simple solution; sign up for the Service Experts Email Club. This is a convenient way to get money-saving discounts and other helpful information on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. But wait… there’s more, your email subscription preferences let’s you set a reminder to change your the U.S. area home’s air filter every 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 days, or the date of your choosing.
Most of you know how to replace the air filter in their equipment, but some residences have another filter in the return ductwork. Whether you have one or not is dependent on what your unit’s manufacturer recommends. Your unit is made to handle a set amount of pressure in your house, and the more filters you have the fiercer the blower motor works, which can shorten the life expectancy of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Learning whether you have a return filter and replacing it is simple:
Incredible though it may seem, filters can greatly alter your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend checking in with the manufacturer. A top tier HEPA filter that is designed to catch finer particles will restrict airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes increased pressure on your system, so you need to verify that your HVAC system was built to handle it. Otherwise, you might experience reduced heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and unit parts may die off much faster than normal.
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