How often should you Change Your Air Filters at Home?

Hot summer days make us thankful to live in a place where we have access to heating and air conditioning!  However, we usually don’t consider the efficiency of our heating and air conditioning system until it breaks or we receive our monthly electricity bill.  The simplest task of regularly changing the air filters in your heating and air conditioning unit can save you some hard earned cash.

To keep your heating and air conditioning system in tip top shape, the air filters must be changed every three to four months; however, many HVAC specialists recommend replacing them every month for maximum efficiency.  New air filters keep your home comfortable and free of debris that spike many people’s allergies.  In fact, the stuff floating around in many homes can cause respiratory illness and infection.

Clean air filters keep the air you and your children breathe clean and allow the air to circulate more freely.  Dirty air filters actually decrease the amount of air circulation up to fifteen percent.  This causes your heating and air conditioning unit to operate less efficiently.  In fact, an extremely dirty air filter can cause a fan, coil, or motor to be dirty as well.  Dirty coils, fans, and motors affect the ventilation greatly and may completely prevent the system from working.  (The air filter’s job is to filter the air of contaminates and particles before they get to the inner components of your unit.) This leaves you and your family hot, miserable, and in need of a service call from your HVAC technician.  HVAC technicians are friendly but provide a sometimes costly service.  Thus, regularly changing the air filter may save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Choosing an air filter

Saving money and breathing clean air are both positives, but how do we choose the right type of air filter for our heating and air conditioning system?  Consider your family and your pocketbook when choosing the best air filter for you.  Also, be sure to select the correct size of air filter to provide heightened efficiency.

  • The most commonly seen filter is the fiberglass panel filter which can be purchased inexpensively.  In this model the fiberglass traps the larger dust particles.  These particles build up quickly and cause airflow issues; thus, fiberglass panel filters need to be changed extremely frequent.
  • The activated carbon air filter is not commonly used in homes, but rather in industry buildings as they help with smells and odors.  This, however, may be a good option for homes with smokers or many pets.  The charcoal base in the filter minimizes the smells and odors without just masking them.
  • Pleated air filters are well liked among homeowners as they provide more surface area in which to trap contaminates and debris.  The debris is trapped on the outside of the filter and lowers the air flow.  Pleated air filters are very versatile and come with odor control, allergy, and other options.

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