As an HVAC contractor in Central, CT, we are often asked about air filter replacement for HVAC systems.
Follow a regular maintenance schedule to know when to change HVAC air filters. Check your filter monthly, especially during heavy-use months like summer and winter. If the filter looks dirty after a month, it’s time to change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months.
Air filters are essential to your HVAC system, protecting it from dust, dirt, and other debris that can damage the equipment and lower indoor air quality.
In this guide, we will explain:
- Why it’s important to change your air filter
- How often HVAC air filters should be replaced
- How long do air filters last
- Factors that determine the frequency of replacement
- Signs that indicate your air filter needs replacement
- What happens if you don’t change your air filter
Why Change Your Air Filters?
Air filters trap airborne particles, such as pollen, dust, and pet dander. Over time, these particles can clog the filter, reducing airflow and causing your HVAC system to work harder than it should. This can increase energy consumption and utility bills and even cause equipment failure.
Replacing your air filter regularly can prevent these issues and keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
How Often Should HVAC Filter Be Changed?
Fiberglass filters should be replaced every 30 days or less, while pleated filters can last up to 90 days. It’s recommended to check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months, and change it if it looks dirty after a month or every three months.
In addition, consider subscribing to a filter delivery service to ensure a regular schedule of filter changes.
Remember, a clean air filter is essential for optimal air quality, efficient HVAC unit operation, and a comfortable home.
Pay attention to this important task, and contact your trusted HVAC specialist in Central, CT, for more information on changing your HVAC air filter.
How Long Do HVAC Air Filters Last?
On average, most HVAC filters last between one and three months. The lifespan of your air filter depends on several factors, such as the type of filter, your home’s air quality, and how often you use your HVAC system.
Factors That Determine Your Air Filter’s Lifespan
- Type of filter: Different types of filters have different lifespans. Fiberglass filters typically must be replaced every 30 days, while pleated filters can last up to 90 days.
- Home size: Larger homes generally require more frequent filter replacements due to increased airflow.
- Air quality: If you live in an area with high pollution levels or wildfires, your filter may need to be replaced more often.
- Pets: Homes with pets tend to have more airborne pet hair and dander, which can clog air filters more quickly.
- Allergies: If you or someone in your home suffers from allergies, you may need to replace your filter more often to maintain optimal indoor air quality.
- Season: Your filter may need to be replaced more frequently during the peak heating and cooling seasons.
- Frequency of HVAC use: If you use your HVAC system frequently, you’ll need to change your filter more often. This is because the more you use your system, the more air is circulated, which can cause your filter to clog up faster.
How to Know When to Change HVAC Filter
As we’ve discussed, changing your air filter regularly is crucial to maintaining optimal indoor air quality and HVAC system performance.
But how do you know when it’s time to change your filter? Here are some signs to look out for:
- Increased energy bills: If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in your energy bills, it could be a sign that your HVAC system is working harder than it should. This could be due to a dirty air filter.
- Poor indoor air quality: If you’ve noticed increased dust, pet hair, or other particles in your home, it could be a sign that your filter needs to be changed.
- Strange noises: If your HVAC system makes strange noises, it could be due to a clogged filter. When your filter is dirty, your system has to work harder to circulate air, which can lead to unusual sounds.
- Uneven heating or cooling: If some rooms in your home are hotter or cooler than others, it could be a sign that your filter is clogged.
- Visible dirt on the filter: If you can see dirt and debris on your air filter, it’s definitely time to change it.
How to Tell If HVAC Filter Is Dirty
The easiest way to tell if your HVAC filter is dirty is to inspect it visually.
Remove the filter from your HVAC system and hold it up to a light source. If you can’t see the light passing through the filter, it’s clogged and needs to be changed.
You can also check the filter’s color. If it’s gray or brown instead of white, it’s a sign that it’s dirty and needs to be replaced.
Another way to tell if your filter is dirty is to check the airflow from your vents. If the airflow is reduced or weak, it could be a sign that your air filter is dirty and needs to be replaced.
Additionally, if you notice an increase in dust or debris around your home or an increase in allergy symptoms, it could also indicate that your air filter is dirty and not effectively trapping pollutants.
Some HVAC systems have built-in sensors indicating when the air filter needs to be changed. Check your system manual or consult an HVAC contractor near you to see if your system has this feature.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your HVAC Filter?
Neglecting to change your HVAC filter regularly can lead to many problems, including higher energy bills, reduced indoor air quality, and costly repairs.
First, your system will have to work harder to circulate air, which can lead to increased energy bills and premature system failure. Dirty filters can also reduce indoor air quality, causing health problems like allergies and respiratory issues. The clogged filter may also cause your HVAC system to freeze, leading to costly repairs.
In addition, a dirty filter can cause dirt and dust to accumulate in your system, leading to further damage and expensive repairs.
Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to replace your filter regularly and maintain your HVAC system properly.
What type of air filter should I use?
Various types of air filters are available, such as fiberglass, pleated, and HEPA filters. The type you should use depends on your specific needs and the recommendations of your HVAC system manufacturer. Generally, pleated filters are more efficient at trapping particles and can last longer, but they may be more expensive. Contact our HVAC specialists in Central, CT, for more information on the best type of filter for your system.
How do I dispose of a used air filter?
If your air filter is disposable, it should be disposed of properly. Check your local regulations for guidance on how to dispose of filters in your area. You can generally dispose of them in the trash, but sealing them in a bag is recommended to prevent debris from escaping.
Can I clean and reuse my air filter?
It depends on the type of filter. Some filters are designed to be reusable and can be cleaned and reinstalled. However, other filters are disposable and cannot be cleaned. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to see if your filter is reusable or disposable.
How do I know if my AC filter is bad?
There are a few signs that your AC filter may be impaired or in need of replacement. Reduced or weak airflow, unusual smells or sounds, and increased energy bills can indicate that your filter is dirty or clogged. It’s essential to check and replace your filter to keep your system running smoothly.
Will cleaning my AC filter make it colder?
While cleaning your AC filter can improve the efficiency of your system, it won’t necessarily make it colder. The main function of your filter is to capture airborne particles and prevent them from entering your HVAC system, not to cool the air. If you want to make your home cooler, it’s best to adjust your thermostat or consider upgrading to a more efficient system.
What does a bad HVAC filter look like?
A bad HVAC filter can appear dirty, clogged, or discolored. If you hold it up to a light source, you may see a layer of debris or buildup that indicates it needs to be replaced. Sometimes, a bad filter may also emit a musty or unpleasant odor, which can be another sign that it needs to be changed.
Why does my HVAC filter get dirty so fast?
Several factors can contribute to a dirty HVAC filter, including the size of your home, the number of occupants, and the presence of pets or allergens. Environmental factors like dust, pollen, and pollution can all contribute to a faster buildup rate.
To keep your filter from getting dirty too quickly, it’s essential to check it regularly, replace it as needed, and consider factors like air quality and occupancy when determining how often to change it.
Your HVAC air filter is vital to your heating and cooling system. It helps keep your indoor air clean by trapping particles of mold, pollen, and other contaminants that move through the system. Regular HVAC filter replacement is necessary to ensure your system runs efficiently.
The frequency of changing the filter depends on the type of filter, home size, air quality, pet occupancy, allergies, and seasonal changes. It’s crucial to inspect your filter regularly to ensure it’s not too dirty or clogged and to replace it every 1 to 3 months.
By taking the time to maintain your HVAC system correctly, you can improve indoor air quality, reduce energy bills, and extend the life of your HVAC system.
Call your HVAC contractor in Central, CT, at 860-352-1017 for advice and assistance with your system.