Generally, HVAC companies and manufacturers suggest replacing air filters every 3 months. How often you change an air filter depends on a few factors. In this article, we’ll look at when to replace your old filter and how Air Stars can level things up with whole-home air filter installation.
When Do I Need a New Air Filter?
Every HVAC unit needs a clean air filter. It ensures proper airflow and that the system runs smoothly and efficiently. Filter replacement also helps the system maintain optimal indoor air quality. When you should change the air filter depends on the following:
- Filter Type: A standard air filter contains fiberglass media. It captures most dust and airborne particles and should be replaced every 30 days. However, pleated paper air filters, despite costing more upfront, can last up to 90 days, depending on how frequently your HVAC system is used.
- Size of Your Home: In a larger home, more air circulates through the system so that the filter can get dirtier faster. Air filter installation is usually required more often than in a smaller home, where the HVAC system moves less air. But if you have a smaller air conditioner with a smaller filter, it may need replacement just as often.
- Pets: Pet hair and dander can affect air quality in your home. So can the dirt, pollen, and other contaminants pets track in from outside. Check your air filter at least once a month if you have one or more pets. Replace the filter whenever it’s dirty; generally, homeowners with pets should change the filter every 60 days.
- Allergies: If anyone in your home suffers from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions (and/or multiple pets are around), consider changing the filter every 20 to 45 days. A new or higher quality filter can relieve coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and other symptoms.
- Outdoor Air Quality: Outside air pollution can impact indoor air quality and how often you need a new air filter. Dust, wildfire smoke, and other contaminants from outside can clog it up quickly. Replace your air filter more often if outdoor air quality is a persistent problem.
- Occupancy: The less you use your home, the longer the air filter should last. A vacation home may require a filter change every nine to 12 months. However, the more people in your home and the more time they spend there, the more frequently the filter should be changed. If you have children (who are more sensitive to indoor air pollutants), change the filter before it gets too dirty and consider whole-home air filter installation.
How Do I Know I Need a New Air Filter?
A visual inspection is the only way to assess the condition of an air filter. Most HVAC professionals recommend inspecting the filter every month. You can compare how it looks each time to determine when to replace it and how quickly it gets dirty. An easy way to check it is to hold the filter to a light source; the light should pass through the media. If not, the filter is clogged and should be replaced.
What If I Don’t Replace My Air Filter?
Neglecting to change your HVAC filter is very costly. Many people believe the air filter cleans the air in your home. However, its primary purpose is to protect your HVAC system and its sensitive components from particles and other contaminants. Standard filters block dust, dirt, and hair, while higher-efficiency filters can block bacteria, mold spores, and fungal particles.
Regardless of the filter, a clogged one will cause your HVAC system to work less effectively. This is what causes indoor air quality to decline. Clogged filters also cause reductions in comfort and energy efficiency, higher utility bills, and more frequent repairs due to increased wear and tear.
How Do I Replace the Air Filter?
The air filter is typically contained within a cardboard frame that slides in and out of the system. It’s usually in front of the evaporator coil. A disposable filter is easily swapped out with a filter of the same type. Reusable filters should be cleaned per the manufacturer’s instructions and re-inserted the same way. Most air filters have an arrow on top that should face toward the HVAC unit; if there’s no arrow, make sure the wireframe faces outward.
Air Stars: Your Whole-Home Air Filter Installation Professionals
Standard in-line air filters do a good job of keeping particles out of your HVAC system. A whole-home air filtration system directly filters your indoor air of dust, dirt, pet dander, and other pollutants that can affect equipment and human health. Whole-home air purifiers, depending on the type, use UV light, heat, or negative ions to sanitize indoor air. At Air Stars, our licensed professionals install and service these and combined air filters and purifiers. We also provide duct sealing, insulation, and energy-recovery ventilation systems.