How Frequently Should I Be Changing My Air Filters?

Keeping your Austin, Texas home’s HVAC system in good condition is one of the most important things you can do for its longevity and efficiency. While there are certain tasks that are best left to HVAC professionals, there are other projects, like replacing your HVAC filter, that you can do on your own.

Keeping the filter clean ensures that your HVAC unit works at peak efficiency. Regularly replacing the filter can help lower your energy bill as well.

Unfortunately, replacing your HVAC filter is something you might simply forget to do. Many homeowners only remember it when they notice a decrease in the function of their furnace or air conditioning unit. Or they are reminded of the importance of regularly changing the HVAC filter when the parts on their furnace and air conditioner are breaking down sooner than expected.

Changing your HVAC filter is easy, but you may wonder how frequently you should do it. The answer is going to vary based on the unit that you have and how much use you put it to. However, there are some general guidelines and recommendations that you can apply when judging if now is the right time to replace your HVAC filter.

General Recommendations for Changing Your Home’s Air Filters

The general consensus is that you should change or clean your home’s air filters every 30-60 days if you’re using the cheaper fiberglass type. If you have high-end filters, these need to be changed twice a year. These are broad guidelines that do not factor in the size or shape of your air filter.

The longer an air filter is in place, the more grime, dust and possible allergens it will collect. This decreases the filter’s efficiency and requires your unit’s blower to work harder to circulate air through your home. In addition to these general recommendations, you may need to change your filter more often if some of the following conditions apply.

Someone in Your Home Has Asthma or Allergies

If there is someone in your home with allergies or asthma, indoor air quality is just as vital as outdoor air quality to that person’s health and well-being. The air outside can be full of harmful pollution. However, the air inside can be even worse.

If family members in your home have allergies or they’re asthmatic, they’re going to be sensitive to airborne particulates. For this reason, you want to change your air filter every six weeks. This will give you the highest air quality and help reduce the symptoms of asthma and allergies.

You Have Pets

Pets can do so much to add value to your quality of life. However, they can also leave behind fur, dander and other contaminants. As the weather gets warm, your pets may start to shed. This can leave your home with a foul-smelling odor that only gets worse over time. If you have pets, we recommend that you change your filter every two months. You may need to do so with greater frequency during the months when there is a change in the seasons.

You Have Young Children

Young children and older adults are exceptionally susceptible to airborne contaminants. For them, you’ll want to keep your indoor air quality at its peak. This means that you should be changing or replacing your air filter at least once every two months.

Factors That Impact How Frequently You Change Your HVAC Filter

If you live in a part of the world that has moderate climate and you only need to turn on your heater or air conditioning unit sporadically throughout the year, it’s possible that one filter could last for multiple months. However, if you’re in a state that has drastic swings in temperature, you’re likely running your HVAC system constantly. In this situation, you will need to change your filters every four to six weeks. You know what they say about Texas weather: It’s always changing.

The size of your home is another factor. In a smaller home, a furnace and AC unit are pumping less air to produce the same amount of temperature alteration. This might mean fewer filter changes. On the flipside, if you have a larger house, your HVAC unit is working harder and needing to filter more air to keep your home warm or cool. This can lead to more frequent HVAC filter changes.

Another factor to consider is the size of the unit. If your unit is the right size for your home, you likely will need to do fewer changes than if your unit is undersized.

A final factor is the air quality of your home. If you live in a heavily polluted area, the filters are going to be working overtime to remove the pollutants. This means you need to replace them with greater frequency.

Signs That Indicate It’s Time to Change Your HVAC Filter

How do you know that it’s time to change your HVAC filter? On the extreme end, a clogged HVAC filter will lead to a system malfunction and eventual equipment damage. But you don’t want things to go that far, so you need to be aware of the more subtle signs that your filter is blocked.

For example, you may notice a reduction in the airflow of your HVAC system. The blower could be working harder to move air. Or you may notice particulates floating in the air, indicating that your filter is not working as effectively as it should be.

Another sign that your filter needs to be changed is that there are contaminants building up in your ductwork. Since a dirty filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, there is an increase in your home energy usage, which causes your monthly electrical bill to go up.

You should make it a habit to check your air filters once a month. If they’re dirty, clean or replace them. If you remove your filter from the air handler and you hold it up to a light, you should be able to see the light through the filter. If you can’t, your air filter definitely needs to be changed.

Does Changing the Air Filter Really Make a Difference?

Absolutely. The filter affects your HVAC system’s ability to heat and cool your home. Regularly changing the air filter will improve air quality. You’re going to see a reduction in power usage, leading to a lower electricity bill and better air circulation.

Your family deserves professional heating and cooling services. At Trusted Heating & Cooling, we deliver. We’re passionate about our craft and about providing a great customer service experience.

We’re proud to offer our Austin customers heating, cooling, ductless systems, ventilation, indoor air quality and dehumidifier services. Whether you need a new thermostat, air scrubbers or air purifiers, Trusted Heating & Cooling is the business you should call. Our customers also trust us to install whole-home generators and perform home energy audits. If you have new construction or a remodeling project, our team has the experience, dedication and know-how to get the job done right.

Don’t spend one more day with an HVAC system that’s not functioning its best. Contact Trusted Heating & Cooling in Austin. We look forward to working with you.

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