All heating and air conditioning systems come with a filter designed to screen out dust and dirt. Filters are important for our HVAC systems here in Escondido, CA because we get very little rain in the summer and the dust can build up quickly. One of the keys to keeping your HVAC system running smoothly is changing that filter on a regular basis. It’s not difficult to do. Replacement filters are available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers, and replacing them is simply a matter of removing the seals on the old filter and putting in a new one. But believe it or not, there are some good strategies for doing this, which can help save you money while also allowing you the maximum effectiveness that comes from a quality filter.
How Often Should You Change the Filter?
Your mileage is going to vary depending upon specific circumstances when it comes to the time schedule for changing your filter. Theoretically, you should change it once a month, but that assumes regular use and a lot of build-up. We live in a very mild climate, which means that you might not run your heating system every day (especially as winter turns to spring). In some cases, you may only need to change the filter once or twice a year. You should do so more often only if circumstances dictate. What kind of circumstances? Here’s a list of possibilities:
- You have a number of pets in the home. Pets shed hair and leave dander in the air, which can clog the filter.
- You have an infant, an elderly relative or someone with a condition such as asthma in the home. These family members are more sensitive to dust and dirt, and may need a cleaner environment.
- You spend a lot of time outdoors, you work outdoors, or you tend to bring a lot of dust and dirt inside.
It can be more art than science, but the easiest way to tell is to simply check your existing filter. If it looks dirty, change it!
Don’t Just Buy the Cheapest Filter
Another factor to consider is the effectiveness of the filter itself. It can be tempting to purchase the cheapest filter possible, but a more expensive pleated filter can provide extra protection and more thorough cleaning of the air. In particular look for HEPA filters, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. They screen out all but the tiniest particles, ensuring that your indoor air quality stays high.
If you want to invest in a more thorough option, you might also consider an electronic air filter, which ionizes particles and causes them to stick to a collection plate. They can work wonders for homes that have need of extra protection, and will eliminate the periodic needs to buy more replacement filters at the store.
Your health and your family’s health come first always, and knowing when to change your filter is a big part of that.
For expert advice, or to install or maintain an electronic air filter in your home, call Aspen Cooling & Heating, Inc today!