Breathe Easier By Doing This Simple Task
There are many tasks that need to be checked off your home maintenance list on a regular basis. Shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, and sweeping floors are just a few examples of basic home duties that help ensure your home is both functional and comfortable.
Another crucial home maintenance job that all homeowners should know about is changing the air filter in the furnace. Dust, dirt, hair, and other debris get trapped in the air filter. Over time, the filter can become clogged, restricting the flow of air through the filter and into the home. Not only does this reduce the air quality, but it also negatively impacts the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Use this guide to learn more about air filters and find out how often you should change your home's air filter.
What Is an Air Filter?
There are two common types of home air filters, including spun fiberglass and pleated paper. The filters are designed to trap dust, dirt, pet hair, lint, mold, bacteria, and other contaminants.
By filtering these contaminants, a furnace's filter improves the air quality within a home, making it easier to breathe. This is especially important in homes with individuals that suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions.
The easiest way to find an air filter that is suitable for your home is to locate the filter that is already installed. Check the sides of the existing air filter to find the dimensions, then head online or to a local home improvement store to find an air filter that matches the listed dimensions.
How Often Should You Change an Air Filter?
When an air filter has been in use for a long period of time, it gradually begins to restrict the air flow through the heating and cooling system. This reduces the efficiency of the system, leading to higher heating and cooling bills. If the filter remains unchanged, it can even shorten the life of the furnace or air conditioner, so it's important to include air filter replacement on your list of recurring home maintenance jobs.
When you purchase a new air filter, check the manufacturer's recommendations to get a basic idea of how frequently to change the filter. On average, you should change a fiberglass air filter about once every 30 days, while you can leave a pleated air filter for about three to six months before needing to replace it.
If you're installing the air filter in a vacation home, cottage, or other property that isn't commonly used, you can usually wait a bit longer to replace the filter. Wait up to three months to change a fiberglass air filter and nine to 12 months before changing a pleated air filter.
Just keep in mind that every home is different. What may be a suitable air filter replacement frequency for one home might not be the right choice for every home. To get a better understanding of when to replace an air filter, consider the size of the home, number of people, number of pets, and whether there is anyone that has severe allergies or that smokes inside the home.
Replace the air filter to restore airflow, improve heating and cooling efficiency, and increase the air quality throughout the home. If you change the air filter and these problems persist, it's recommended to contact a professional HVAC technician to help address the root of the issue.