How often should I replace my air filter?
This is a question most people only ask when their air filters seem to be malfunctioning. While changing out your HVAC filter is likely to fall last on a long list of to-do’s, staying on top of a replacement schedule can save you and your household from a whole other list of problems (and costs) down the road.
Give Me a Ballpark Idea
General recommendations can range from 30 days to 6 months, depending on the quality of your air filter. If you have a pleated filter, you can swap it out every 90 days or so, but inexpensive fiberglass filters should be changed around the 30-day mark to ensure your air is as clean as it can be.
While these rule-of-thumb insights are useful, how often you use your HVAC combined with who lives in your house can have a big impact on how long your air filter lasts.
Your HVAC Habits
If you run your HVAC for more than a couple of hours a day, you’ll need to change your filter more often than the household who would rather bundle or turn on the fan than click on the thermostat.
In addition to your temperature preferences, the size of your home plays into the lifespan of an air filter. The more square footage, the more energy required to heat or cool your home. If you have bigger digs and run your HVAC moderately, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
See what we did there?
Your Furry Friends
Pets bring many wonderful things to a home, though air quality is not always one of them. Odors, hair, fluff, and fur all work to your air filter’s detriment, particularly when the seasons are changing. While some breeds shed more than others, every creature with a coat tends to do so more heavily when we shift from cold weather to warmer winds.
If pets are a part of your family, be sure to change your air filter every couple of months. This can be especially important if you have children, particularly ones with asthma or other allergies. Few of us are as sensitive to changes in our air quality as children, though filter maintenance will also help adults facing the same issues.
If you have little ones running around your home, or cough and sneeze at the mere mention of dust, pets, or pollen – make your air filter a priority every six weeks. For those most affected by contaminants in the air they breathe, fresh and clean filters can mean a better quality of life.
How do I know it needs to be replaced?
Taking a good long look at your filter (or, perhaps, a very short one) is a great way to gauge whether it is time to get a replacement. Are you seeing more than a very thin layer of dust? Does it smell bad? Is there enough debris to obstruct your view of the air filter material?
If so, change it out!
Need more of a reason to be on your best filter behavior? Clean air filters are more efficient, making for a better performing HVAC system. The better your HVAC runs, the lower your cost of heating and cooling your home.
If you need a helping hand to change your filter, or are thinking about a new HVAC altogether, the professionals at Columbia Heating and Cooling are here to help! Give us a call today for a free replacement quote!