Occassionally we’re asked what is the best thing that the U.S. area homeowner’s can do to maintain their air conditioning and heating system between their seasonal tune-ups? It’s a simple question with a simple answer; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Replacing furnace and return air filters is critical to the effectiveness of your HVAC system, as well as your home’s air quality. Research suggests that 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 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 wrapping. It may read “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Check out the filters at the store and you’ll notice that some are engineered to only last one month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have released media air cleaners with filters meant to be changed once every 6-12 months. The industry standard seems to be once every 3 months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we suggest our friends, and family to go by. If it’s dirty, change it! A dirty air filter can add or cause damage to pricey components, like your compressor, so it’s better to change it out more often than neglect it. 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 adding a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Keep in mind that your filter manufacturer might have 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 every 30-60 days, which is actually a great rule of thumb. However, generalities may not be suitable for your specific needs. If you have to endure 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 infrequently 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 should you factor in your pets? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter fast. Of course, the air filter is just doing its job by capturing pet hair and dander, but tremendously dirty filters can cause diminished HVAC performance.
Here’s an easy way to stay on top of this; 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. In addition, 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 system, but some residences have an extra filter in the return ductwork. Whether you have one or not is dependent on the HVAC manufacturer’s recommendation. Your HVAC is designed to handle a maximum amount of pressure in your home, and the more filters you have the more the blower motor works, which can reduce the lifespan of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Learning whether you have a return filter and replacing it is easy:
Crazy as it may seem, filters can dramatically affect your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer. A higher quality HEPA filter that is designed to catch smaller debris will restrict airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes more pressure on your system, so you ought 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 the standard.
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