Every once in a while we’re asked what is the number one 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. Buying new furnace and return air filters is extremely important to the effectiveness of your HVAC system, as well as your home’s air quality. Studies show that indoor air pollution is among 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 a tough thing to do for most the U.S. homeowners, but there are typically two obstacles to actually accomplishing this task:
Most filters have a recommended guideline on the box or plastic. It may read “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Look around at the store and you’ll see that some are engineered to only last a month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have released media air cleaners with filters meant to be changed once every 6-12 months. The standard seems to be once every few months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we suggest our friends, and family to go by. If they’re dirty, change them! A dirty air filter can contribute or cause damage to expensive equipment, like your compressor, so it’s recommended to change it out more often than not. 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 setting a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Also note that your filter manufacturer sometimes has a different recommendation from your HVAC system manufacturer.
Deciding how often to change your air filters relies upon several factors:
For the common 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturer specs basically say to change them bi-monthly, which is in fact a great rule of thumb. But general guidelines are not applicable to all. If you have to tolerate light to moderate allergies, you may need to upgrade the air filter or change them even more regularly than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a remote area, own a less occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area with few automobiles and trucks, replacing your air filters each year may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter fast. Of course, the air filter is just doing its job by containing pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause diminished HVAC performance.
Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a simple solution; 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. 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 a specific date of your choice.
Most people know how to replace the air filter in their unit, but some homes have an additional filter in the return ducts. Whether you have one or not is dependent on which HVAC system you have. Your unit is designed to handle a set amount of pressure in your house, and the more filters you have the more the blower motor works, which can decrease the life of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Finding out whether you have a return filter and replacing it is simple:
Crazy as it may seem, filters can really alter your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer. A more expensive HEPA filter that is designed to catch tinier particles will obstruct airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes increased 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 system parts may wear out much faster than normal.
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