The air filter is a very crucial component in the HVAC system. It has significant impacts on various essential areas of indoor comfort and HVAC equipment performance. The primary function of an air filter is to clean the air that moves in and out of your heating and cooling system. It does that by trapping dust, debris, wood particles, pollen, and other particulates that could compromise the structural integrity of the HVAC system.
However, different filters have different degrees of efficiency. Some filters are more efficient and have a longer lifespan than others, depending on their quality. Some will just offer an elementary level of filtration, while others will provide exceptional filtration, that is, tiny particulates of 0.3 microns or even more. Therefore, you may consider changing your home air conditioning filters to enhance efficiency as a homeowner.
So, how often should you change your air filters? Well, air filters have a limited lifespan, and therefore, you need to have a record of the date of installation to know when to replace them. However, if you didn’t keep track of their installation date, the best thing you can do to your HVAC system is change the filters regularly. Failure to change your air filters could have detrimental effects on your HVAC equipment. Unfortunately, this is a task that is usually overlooked by an overwhelming majority of homeowners, thus leading to regular repairs and surges in energy bills.
Factors That Determine How Often to Change Air Filters
Your air filter needs to be changed regularly; however, determining when to replace your air filter isn’t cut and dry because every home’s design is unique and has different needs. Some factors that determine the best timing for your air filter changes include the following.
1. Size of the House
The amount of air circulation is directly proportional to the size of the house. Therefore, homeowners with big homes need to change their air filters regularly since more air is circulating through the filters. When more air goes through the filters, more dirt and other particulates get trapped in the system. As more dirt accumulates in the filters, the efficiency of the filters is reduced.
A small house has less air circulating since the space is small. Therefore, your air conditioners and furnaces are expected to pump less air for the same temperature change; thus, there is no need to change the filter regularly. However, the appliances used to cool small houses often come with small filters. Therefore, you may be required to change the filter regularly, even in small houses.
2. Air Filter Model
Air filters come in different types, including fiberglass, paper, or pleated filters. The different types of air filters have different specifications on the duration they should operate before they are replaced. For instance, fiberglass filters are cheaper and therefore need to be replaced every month. Pleated filters are of premium quality and costlier than their fiberglass counterpart. The pleats are heavy denser and offer an extra surface area that can attract and trap more particulates. These filters have a longer lifespan and can function for close to 6 months without needing to be replaced.
3. The Air Quality in Your Home
The air quality within your home will determine the longevity of your air filter. If the air around is polluted, for instance, there is a smoker within, or your area faces a lot of smog and air pollution from vehicles, there is a greater need to replace your air filters regularly, probably after every two months.
4. Number of Pets
Homeowners who love pets may be required to change their air filters regularly, compared to those with no pets. Also, those with many pets should change their filters more often compared to those with one or two pets. This is because furred pets are likely to carry a lot of dust and other particles, which contribute to further filter clogs and block airflow. Therefore, if you have one or two pets, changing the filter after two months and every 20 to 40 days for multiple pets is recommended.
5. Frequency of Use
As a homeowner, you may opt to leave your window open as a way of letting fresh air in and the bad air outside. Filling your house with fresh air helps increase the longevity of your air filters as they tend to do less work when the inside air is less contaminated. However, this may not happen to homeowners who live in areas that experience frigid winters almost nine months a year. If you live in cold regions, your system must operate full-time and, therefore, replace the filters regularly.
6. Health Issues
People with allergies, chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD), and pre-existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma are more sensitive to airborne particulates than those with no such conditions. Therefore, a household with such patients needs to change the filters every six weeks to keep the indoor air quality clean all the time.
7. Younger Children
A household with younger children needs to keep both the indoor and the outdoor air clean all the time. Your air filter should be replaced after every two or three months to ensure this is achieved.
Signs You Need to Change Your Air Filters
It is crucial to keep your air filters clean and regularly change them. If you have not changed the air filter for too long, below are the signs that you need to change it:
1. The Air Isn’t Cold Enough
If your air conditioner cools, the problem could be the air filter if there is a change in how your air conditioner cools. This is because a dirty filter won’t permit that refreshing cool air to go through it correctly, making the air so hot. However, if the problem is not a result of a faulty air filter, it is imperative to contact (company _name) as they will help examine the challenge and perform the required maintenance.
2. Increased Utility Bills
When you notice an unexpected surge in your electricity bills, it can sometimes be challenging to determine the cause. If there are no faulty appliances or a poorly functioning AC system, you could be having a dirty air filter.
3. The Air Conditioning Unit Is Too Hot
One major indicator of a faulty air filter is when the back of the unit is too hot. When the air filter is clogged with dirt, you may notice warm air coming out of the back of the unit. Such an air filter will require more repairs and eventually reduce the unit’s lifespan.
4. There’s More Dust Near the Events
The frequent accumulation of dust on the surfaces and furniture near the vents indicates malfunctioning air filters. Therefore, consider replacing your filter if you notice dust build-up near the vents.
A General Air Filter Change Recommendation
Although different factors determine how long you should take before changing your air filter, it is imperative to change your filters every 30-45 days. This promotes exceptional performance and maximum efficiency of the air conditioning system.
For inquiries about maintenance, quotes on new equipment, or scheduling a service call, contact us at Green Energy Mechanical Inc, and we will be ready to serve you in Canton, MA. We offer numerous services, including duct cleaning, duct sealing, repairs, installations, replacements, maintenance, and other emergency services.