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January 9th, 2017

A Guide to Air Filters and When to Change Them

Energy costs are rising everywhere. So people are always trying to find ways that they can save on their energy bills. Since cooling and heating can cost a lot of money, one of the best ways that you can help with lowering your energy costs is to change your air filter.

But how do you know how often you should change your air filter? Below are some good ways to know that it’s time that you should change your air filter.

How to Know When It is Time to Change

The majority of people are going to change the filters when the season changes, when the equipment will be working really hard. Some people however change it every month so that they are safe. What are those factors that you should consider when you want to know how often yours should be changed?

What air filter are you using? Since each of the kinds of air filter comes with a lifespan of its own, this information should be used for helping to determine how long it should go in between changes.

What’s your air quality in your home?

If you don’t feel as if the air’s as fresh or clear as it was before, or you’re having problems with frequent colds or allergies, it might be time to replace the air filter or you might want to do it more often. You might want to select another type, too.

Do you have pets in your home? If there are pets who live in the house, it is a good idea to change your air filter a lot more or select a kind that will help with dander.

Do you have a lot of people in your house? When you have a lot of people in your house, there will be a lot more dirt and dust flying around. So it’s a good idea to change the air filter on a more regular basis.

Is there a lot of pollution or construction in your area? If you answer yes to these questions, you should frequently check your air filters. You should also change the filters when they’re dirty.

How Frequently Should Air Filters get Changed?

When you bear in mind all of these factors, you should change your filters whenever they’re dirty. Even though this may seem like advice that is very generic, it’s going to depend on the house’s condition, the kind of the filters that you are using, and how hard and often the HVAC equipment’s being used. When the weather is really cold or really hot, you’ll need to check the filters more often.

If you want a hard and fast answer, it’s good to check your filters once per month.
Now that we know that one of the things that determines how often you should change your filters is the type of filter, we’re going to look at the different types and see how long they are able to last.

Types of Filters

  1. Economy panel – These types of filters come in multiple packs and they are pretty inexpensive. But the biggest drawback is that they don’t work very well. These types of filters don’t do a very good job and chances are that you’ll have to replace them monthly.
  2. Pleated – These filters are able to last from 3 to 6 months. They have 10-60% greater efficiency than the conventional filters for ACs.
  3. Electrostatic – These are cost effective and energy efficient. They are a bit more expensive but they usually can be washed as well as reused.
  4. Electronic – These types of filters will often quickly become dusty but usually it won’t impact the airflow negatively. To clean these filters, you remove their cells, soak them using cleaner, rinse them, and reuse them.
  5. HEPA – Even though these filters are very efficient, you are going to spend a lot of money for these types of filters.

How a Dirty Filter can Affect You

So what if you don’t change your air filter? What can happen? Well, there are ways that a dirty air filter can affect you.

  • Dirty Ducts – If your filter is dirty, everything that goes past your filter also will be dirty, including the air in your home. This will pump your house full of allergens and dust.
  • Physical Symptoms – Allergens can cause lots of symptoms such as chest tightness, fatigue, headache, and lots of symptoms similar to a cold that just linger.
  • Reduced Flow of Air – An air conditioning unit is made to work with so much air flow. If that isn’t available, your AC may not work and it could fail. It also can raise your electric bill as the system is struggling to work.
  • Inefficient Cooling – When dirt is on your cooling coils, it means that frost is building up on the fans and coils. This makes it harder for your AC to cool the home.
  • Very High Power Bills – Due to the reduced amount of air flow and the inefficiency in cooling, an air filter that is dirty will mean that the AC is working a lot harder so that your house is cool. This means that the power fueling it is a lot higher. If you are noticing that your power bills are high, simply check your air filter. It might be as simple as that.

Conclusion

There are so many things that can happen due to a dirty air filter. If you are experiencing any of the things above, simply look at the air filter and see whether or not it needs to be changed. You will discover that your heating and cooling system is working more efficiently, that you and your family are feeling much better, and that your home is a lot more comfortable.

Understand the needs that you and your family have and what is expected from your home’s HVAC system. Anytime the weather is hot or cold, you want to be comfortable and whether or not you feel comfortable could be as simple as your air filter.