Have You Changed Your Air Filter Lately? How to Maintain a Healthy HVAC System

When was the last time you replaced your home’s air conditioning filter? Do you remember? If you don’t, your bank account probably does, and so does your house. If you tend to let the task of switching out your air filter slip your mind, it’s time to make it a priority.

Maintaining the Health of Your HVAC System

Dirty Air Conditioner FilterBy design, filters work to maintain the health of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.  They do this by keeping the air your house “breathes” clear of dust, dander, mold, and some bacteria. You can think of your HVAC system as the lungs of your house, with air filters working like respirator masks.

If your air filter becomes clogged from neglect, the air intake of your system will be drastically decreased. The unit must work longer to do its job as less air flows through the system, increasing the system’s overall energy usage. Particles that are not trapped by a full filter can also build up on components inside of your air conditioning unit. Build-up on the evaporator coils inside of your air conditioner can cause the unit to freeze over, leaving your house improperly cooled.

Left unaddressed for too long, a system with a clogged filter can sustain irreparable damage that will cost you much more than a filter replacement.

How does a healthy HVAC system affect your family’s health?

Clean Air Conditioner FilterYour air conditioning filter is your home’s first defense against respiratory agitators. Pollen, bacteria, smoke, and even auto-emissions can creep into your home’s air circulation through a clogged filter. If your family has indoor pets, dander made up of dead skin and fur can also be an issue.

Without a properly functioning filter, your HVAC system will be unable to properly dehumidify your home, creating the perfect conditions for mold growth in your home’s air vents. As these small particles of dust and mold permeate the air you breathe, you or the members of your family can have an allergic reaction, or more seriously, develop asthma.

Changing the filters around your home on a regular basis is a quick and easy way to ensure the air in your home is clear of allergens and safe for your family to breathe.

How Often You Should Change Your A/C Filters

The length of time you can go between filter changes depends on multiple factors. The more pets and people who occupy your home, the more often you should change your air filters. If you live in an area with extremely high humidity or large amounts of dust, you will need to change your filters more often. General air pollution levels in your city and the type of filter your HVAC system requires should also be considered.

A typical home may be able to go up to three months before a filter change is needed, while filters in homes containing multiple indoor pets may need to be changed more often. If you or someone in your household suffers from chronic allergy problems, a filter change may be needed monthly, or an upgrade to your A/C’s filter may be in order.

Generally, you should look to change your filter between every 30 and 60 days. It’s highly recommended that you shoot for 3o days when you’re using cheaper fiberglass filters. You may be able to get away with keeping a filter for around 6 months if you’re using a high-end pleated filter.  However, without knowing how often you use your A/C and what kind of filter you have, it is hard to say exactly how often you should change it. Check with the manufacturer, or attempt to change the filter every 3o days to remain safe.