Sometimes we’re asked what is the best thing that the U.S. area homeowner’s can do to secure their air conditioning and heating system between their regular tune-ups? Our advice is simple; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Buying new furnace and return air filters is extremely important to the effectiveness of your HVAC system, not to mention your home’s air quality. Research suggests that indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks? We know it’s the last thing on your mind, but this is really important stuff. Changing the air filters is not all that hard for most the U.S. homeowners, but there are typically two hurdles to actually getting it done:
Most filters have a timeline printed on the packaging. It may read “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Pay attention at the store and you should see that some are designed to only last a single month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have created media air cleaners with filters meant to be exchanged once every 6-12 months. The norm seems to be once every few months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we tell our friends, and family to go by. If it’s dirty, change it! A dirty air filter can contribute or cause damage to pricey equipment, like your compressor, so it’s best to change it out more often than to let it go. If you want to listen to the manufacturer’s recommended limit, we suggest scribbling the date on the filter when you swap it out, and programming a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Keep in mind that your filter manufacturer sometimes has a different recommendation from your HVAC system manufacturer.
Deciding how often to change your air filters can depend on several factors:
For your standard 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturers basically tell you to change them bi-monthly, which is actually a great rule of thumb. However, general guidelines are not applicable to all. If you have to endure light to moderate allergies, you might require an upgraded air filter or change them even more often than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a remote area, own a seldom occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area with little auto traffic, changing your air filter every 12-months may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter in no time, just like a vacuum. Of course, the air filter is just doing its job by trapping pet hair and dander, but exceptionally dirty filters can cause seriously reduced HVAC performance.
It’s simple; sign up for the Service Experts Email Club. This is a great to receive discounts on service, tips and other helpful information directly to your email. Plus, 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 any date you find most convenient.
Most people know how to replace the air filter in their equipment, but some homes have another filter in the return vent. Whether you have one or not is dependent on what your unit’s manufacturer recommends. Your system is engineered to handle a set amount of pressure in your home sweet home, and the more filters you have the harder the blower motor works, which can reduce the life of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Discovering whether you have a return filter and replacing it is a piece of cake:
Crazy as it may seem, filters can really affect your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer. A higher quality HEPA filter that is designed to catch tinier particles will reduce airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes more pressure on your system, so you should verify that your HVAC system was made to handle it. Otherwise, you could experience uneven heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and HVAC parts may die off much faster than otherwise.
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