Air filters are exactly what they sound like – filters for air. They literally filter the air before it goes into your HVAC system. As simple as it might sound, the contribution of an air filter to a healthy, hygienic and clean house is undeniable and it goes beyond just filtering. But when you forget to replace it from time to time, you, your family and your HVAC system could be in grave danger. So, learn how often you need to change the air filters to avoid getting dirt, debris, and bacteria being flown into your lungs.
But before that, here are some basics –
What is an air filter?
As I have mentioned earlier, an air filter filters the air.
It is placed in front of the air conditioning unit and its primary job is to filter the air that enters the HVAC system.
Why do you need to change the air filter on a regular basis?
Before you know how often you should replace your air filter, it is better to understand exactly why do you need to change it this frequently.
1. Protects you from debris and bacteria
The air filter protects you and your family from dirt, debris, and bacteria. Without the air filter, your central AC unit could just be feeding you dirt and unhealthy particle with each breath. So, it is best if the air filters are changed frequently; otherwise, protecting and safeguarding the air inside your house would be very difficult.
2. Increases HVAC system efficiency
When the air filter does its job, which is filtering air before it enters the HVAC system, the system is saved from filtering the air itself. It makes the central air conditioner in your house more efficient its work, which is controlling the temperature and ambiance inside your home.
3. Saves energy
Since the air filter is doing its job, the HVAC system is able to do its job more efficiently and without consuming too much energy.
4. Protects your HVAC system from potential AC maintenance & repair situations
When the air filter doesn’t work, you should expect an AC repair emergency. These air conditioning service situations are really complicated because now you have to deal with the clogging of the components of the air conditioner.
How frequently should you check your air filters?
Now, let’s come to the point. How often should you check your air filter to see if it requires replacing or not?
Well, the ideal time would be every 30 days.
However, if you have close access to the air filter, meaning, if you don’t have to take upon a lot of hassle to check the air filters with your air conditioning unit, I would personally suggest you check it every 20 days.
Remember, this is not something that you fix. Unlike molds in duct, this cannot be dealt with so easily because you need to replace it eventually. You cannot just call the air filter cleaning guys as you would do with air duct cleaning for mold removal. This not just how things work. So, you better be cautious about when it needs changing.
How often should you change or replace your air filters?
Well, there is no ideal schedule for that. It depends on a number of different factors and variables. But according to experts, your air filters should at least be changed every three months.
However, if you own a pet that sheds hair, you need to change the filters every two months.
Factors that affect your air filter changing schedule
There are a number of factors that come into play when you are scheduling an air filter replacement in your home –
1. Type of the Air filters
Depending on the type of air filter you use, you might need to adjust the schedule from the average once in 3 months or less or more than three months. Check the filter box for proper guidelines.
2. Size of the air filter
It’ll also come into play when you are date-fixing the air duct cleaning schedule. Again, look at the box for proper guidelines on replacing the air filter.
3. Your HVAC system
Is your heating and cooling system a gas furnace, a heat pump or an air conditioner? The answer will decide the break between two consecutive air filter changes.
4. Your environment
The air and environment around you might affect how fast your air filter gets clean. If the air in your neighborhood has a high amount of germs, dirt and debris, your air filter will get dirty faster and you’ll need to change it more frequently.
5. Pets, if you have them
If you have a pet, decrease the interval time between two air filter changes by one month. These furry friends are an enemy for air filters, but as long as you are not overusing the air filter, you and your pets will be fine.
2 Tips on replacing HVAC air filters in your home
1. Check the details on the current air filter when you go to buy a new one
When you go to get a new air filter for your house, always make sure you are aware of which one you used the last time. Knowing these details helps you with the purchase of a new one.
2. Write down the date of installation when you set the new filter in your HVAC system
Write it down – it’s a life hack; you can thank me later.
If you are changing your air filters every 3 months, you might be wondering it’s very easy to remember after three months that it’s time to change the air filter. However, it’s not that easy and I can vouch for that. I almost never remember when I installed this current air filter. So, to avoid overusing it, I just write down the date of installation on the air filter and over the years, it helped me a lot. I hope it’ll help you too.
See the summary of this article here in an infographic – 4 Reasons Why You Should Change Air Filters Regularly [Infographic]