How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?
AC filters are a necessary expense and are a normal part of homeownership. Despite being so vital to the health of the HVAC system, many homeowners overlook or forget to change their AC filter. Identifying the signs of dirty air filters is useful for ensuring the HVAC system is functioning properly and removing harmful pollutants. Nonetheless, homeowners might find it easier to use an air filter schedule best suited for their family’s needs. Professional HVAC technicians encourage homeowners to change their AC filters every three to six months. However, various factors have a direct impact on how often you should change your air filter, such as:
- Merv Rating
- Any Allergies
- Environmental and Seasonal Conditions
- Indoor Pets
- Amount of People and Time Spent in the House
How Often to Change Air Filter with Pets?
Besides allergies, homes with indoor pets are the most common reason for changing the ac filter frequently. Along with pet hair and dandruff, pets also track in outdoor pollution like pollen, mold spores, and bacteria. These particles are then released into the air or transferred to carpets, couches, and other fabrics. This is why homeowners with pets often have to change their air filters every month or two to ensure their indoor air remains clear of harmful pollutants.
3 Signs It's Time to Change Your Air Filter
Caked-on Dirt and Clumps of Debris
The visual condition of the AC filter is generally a key sign. A thin layer of dust will cause the filter to appear gray or brown, which is normal and still functional. Once small dirt clumps of dust and hair collect on the filter, or the filter material is covered in a thick, gray layer - it’s time for a replacement. Homeowners should also dispose of filters with any signs of mold or dead bugs.
Can’t Remember the Last Time the Filter was Changed
Besides visually checking for dirt, simply ask yourself when was the last time the filter was changed. If you can’t remember, then it’s likely that the filter is in dire need of a replacement.
The easiest way to remember or check the age of an AC filter is to write down the date on the filter’s cardboard side (for disposable filters). Checking the filter often is also a great way to test how often your home AC filter needs changing.
Accumulation of Dust & Utility Bill Increases
A filter’s primary function is to remove dirt and dust from circulating throughout the house. Abnormal accumulation of dust, especially around surfaces near the vents, is a solid indication signaling the condition of the filter. While there are other causes for extra dust, the most common is a dirty filter that is unable to perform properly. Furthermore, the dirty filter also restricts airflow through the system, making it work harder to function normally. The additional stress on the system will also increase energy consumption and cause higher utility bills.
AC Tune-Up and HVAC Maintenance
As the temperatures warm up, don’t jeopardize the comfort of your home with a dirty filter. Proper AC maintenance has significant benefits for homeowners, including reducing the need for repairs and preventing premature system failures. At Barnard Heating & Cooling, our preventive maintenance programs also cover filter checks and replacements to keep everything running efficiently! Finding the right size of the filter while deciding on the brand and type of AC filter can be challenging. If you have any questions about your system, please don't hesitate to reach out to us!