As the cold weather approaches, you might be wondering how often you should change your furnace filter. The answer, unfortunately, isn’t as simple as a specific time frame. In this blog post, T&T Plumbing & Heating, Inc. dives into how often furnace filters should be changed, factors that can cause the need to change your air filter more frequently, and instructions for replacing your furnace filter.
Why Is It Important to Change Your Furnace Filter Regularly?
Protect Your HVAC System
Over time, air filters in a furnace or air conditioner become clogged, restricting airflow and making it harder for air to pass through the HVAC system. As a result, your furnace and air conditioning must work harder to push more air through the heating and cooling system, leading to higher energy costs and increasing wear and tear to your HVAC equipment. A dirty filter can restrict airflow enough to cause the heat exchanger and other HVAC system components to overheat, leading to system failure and costly HVAC repair needs.
Failure to change your furnace’s filter regularly can lead to the accumulation of more dust and debris within your HVAC system, as dirty filters can no longer trap dust and other particles. Over time, this gradual buildup can obstruct the airflow causing the heating and cooling equipment to work harder, which consumes more energy and can lead to higher utility bills.
Furthermore, the accumulation of debris in the heating system can cause more wear and tear on the system’s components, such as the blower and components within the combustion chamber. Unfortunately, this may result in early HVAC system failure.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
A clean furnace filter also helps to maintain good indoor air quality in your home. The furnace filter traps airborne dust, dirt, and other airborne particles as air passes through, preventing them from circulating through the indoor air as well as your HVAC system.
Dirty furnace filters can lead to poor indoor air quality, which can exacerbate allergies and respiratory issues. When you continue to use a dirty filter, it is no longer able to trap airborne contaminants, so more dust and other contaminants remain within your indoor air supply.
If you change a furnace filter regularly, it can improve your home’s air quality, lower your energy costs, and extend the life of your heating system and air conditioner. It is a simple and cost-effective preventative measure that can save homeowners from headaches and expensive repairs in the long run.
How Often Should You Change a Furnace Filter?
First, let’s talk about how often to change a furnace filter. In general, it’s recommended to change your furnace filter every one to three months. However, the replacement schedule to change the furnace filter can vary based on a few factors, which we will discuss below. As a general rule, if you notice that you have a visibly dirty filter or a clogged filter, it’s time for a replacement.
Now, let’s talk about some factors that can cause the need to change your furnace filter more frequently.
- Air pollution: If you live in an urban area with high levels of pollution, your furnace filter may become dirty more quickly due to the increased presence of airborne particles and pollutants.
- Pets: Your furnace filter may need to be changed more frequently if you have pets, as pets shed fur. Pet hair and pet dander are allergens that can clog your air filter and reduce its effectiveness.
- Home Renovations: If you’re undergoing home renovations, sawdust, and other construction materials can clog up your furnace filter, leading to the need for more frequent filter changes.
- Home size: The larger your home, the more air your furnace will circulate, leading to a greater accumulation of contaminants in your filter.
- Frequency of use: During seasons where you use your furnace system or air conditioner more frequently, such as summer and winter, you may need to change your home’s furnace filter more often as it will accumulate more debris and pollutants.
- MERV ratings: The MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of your filter can also affect how often you need to replace it. Higher MERV ratings mean the furnace filter is more efficient at capturing airborne contaminants.
- Health concerns: If individuals in your household suffer from allergies, asthma, or respiratory illness, you may need to change the furnace filter more frequently to reduce exposure to harmful allergens and provide better air quality.
- Filter Quality: The quality of your furnace filter is another factor that can cause you to replace it more frequently. Low-quality fiberglass furnace filters will trap less debris and particles, and may not last as long as pleated filters.
- Filter Thickness: Thicker filters tend to last longer than 1-inch furnace filters, as they are able to trap more particles before becoming clogged.
How to Change Your Furnace Filter
So it’s time to change your furnace filter – what now? Here are some step-by-step instructions for replacing your air filter:
- Turn off your furnace. It’s important to turn off your furnace before attempting to change your furnace filter. This will prevent any debris or dust from being pulled into your system while you’re making the switch.
- Locate your furnace filter. Furnace filters are typically located between the return air duct and the furnace. You may need to remove a filter cover to access the furnace filter compartment.
- Remove the old filter. Carefully slide the old furnace filter out of its slot and dispose of it.
- Insert the clean filter. Take your new furnace filter and slide it into the slot, making sure that it’s oriented correctly according to any directional arrows on the frame of the furnace filter.
- Turn your furnace back on. Once your new filter is securely in place, it’s safe to turn your furnace back on.
Protect Your HVAC System & Improve Air Quality with Regular Furnace Filter Replacement
Changing furnace filters regularly is an important step in maintaining good indoor air quality and preventing potential issues with your heating and cooling system. While the general rule of thumb is to change your filter every one to three months, factors such as pets, smoke, or allergies may require replacing furnace filters more often.
By following our simple instructions, you can easily change furnace filters and keep your home comfortable and healthy all year long. If you need help selecting the right furnace filters for your HVAC system or are looking for indoor air quality solutions for your home, contact T&T Plumbing & Heating, Inc. today.