Your air filter is a very important component of your HVAC system. However, most people don’t think about things like that on a daily or even monthly basis—and that’s normal! But you should know when to think about your HVAC system, and why filters are so important. Knowing what your air filter does and why it’s smart to replace it frequently will help you save money and maximize your system’s lifespan.
What do HVAC air filters do?
HVAC air filters serve two main purposes: protecting your HVAC system, and optimizing your indoor air quality.
They do so by trapping the dust and particles in the air that an HVAC system sucks in from a room when you adjust the temperature. If the filters didn’t trap the dust and particles, they could accumulate on your HVAC equipment, which would keep it from working properly over time. The filters also limit the amount of dust that would otherwise get distributed into your home via your air ducts.
Why is changing HVAC air filters important?
Your HVAC air filters trap dust and particles. They don’t eliminate it. When too much dust and debris builds up on a filter, it can’t do its job.
Your HVAC system also needs to work harder to cool or heat your home when your filters are clogged. This can result in high utility bills, poor performance, and unnecessary wear-and-tear on your equipment.
How often should I change my HVAC air filters?
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends changing your filter about every two to three months during times of year when you tend to use your HVAC system often.
However, depending on various factors, it’s sometimes necessary to change a filter more often. Signs that you should change your HVAC air filter sooner rather than later include rising energy bills, allergies that are bothering you more than usual, dust accumulation near the air vents, or your HVAC equipment suddenly shutting down without any noticeable cause.
If you have pets, or have someone living in the house that struggles with allergies and asthma, you may want to change your filter more often.
How do I change my HVAC filter?
The correct process for changing an HVAC air filter can vary depending on your specific system. You should read the manual or consult with one of our experts if you’re not entirely sure how to change yours.
That said, in general, changing an HVAC air filter involves these basic steps:
- Unhooking the vent cover grille latch.
- Cleaning the grill with a microfiber cloth.
- Removing the old filter and inserting a new one so that its sides are facing the same direction as the old filter’s were.
- Relatching the closed cover grille.
What type of HVAC air filter should I buy?
It’s important to buy a filter that’s compatible with your HVAC system. Your specific goals will also determine what type of air filter you should buy. For instance, if you’re trying to save money and live sustainability, you’ll want to buy an energy efficient filter. If health is a concern, you’ll want to look for filters that trap very small particles.