HVAC 101: How often should my filters be changed?
The answer can vary all the way from every 20 days to only once a year, so how can you know what’s best for your filters? It’s one of the questions that inspired our series “HVAC 101,” to help clear the confusion behind your home’s air. Luckily, the proper formula for perfectly purified air can be boiled down to four factors: location, occupancy, filter type, and special exceptions.
Where your home is located can play a huge role in the quality of air inside. Urban areas will have poorer outdoor air, as well as homes by busy streets or highways. You should also pay attention to the seasons, because in a place like Central Arkansas allergen levels can run high. Take a look at the pollen count in your area when you check the weather, and change your filters a few weeks sooner than you normally would during these “peak allergen” seasons.
The number of people, how often they’re home, and the number of pets all have a heavy influence on the amount of work your filters do to keep the air clean. While a single occupant home with no pets, whose occupant likes to travel can avoid changing the filter for up to 6 months, a family with pets will need to make the switch every 60 days at minimum. In general, it’s a good idea for those with pets or allergies to err on the side of changing their filters too often, rather than too little.
To know how well your filters work you should look at their MERV rating. Low rated filters available at the lowest price point are notoriously bad at filtering small particles out of the air, and should definitely be changed monthly. A higher rated filter, in the 12-16 MERV range, will not only function better but also last longer, and can be left in place for up to 3 months even in high occupancy homes.
Three exceptions to the rules of filter maintenance are vacation homes, severe allergies, and HVAC systems that are routinely maintenanced twice a year.
Because a vacation home undergoes so little use, an annual filter change may very well be all that is required, even without high grade filters in place. On the opposite end of the spectrum, anyone with severe allergies should consider not only upgrading their filter quality, but also changing their filters as often as every 20 days. You would be amazed at what a difference whole-home purified air can do for chronic allergies.
Lastly, those who regularly have their systems serviced have the luxury of an additional 20-30 days before needing to switch, due to the “top-notch” level on which their systems consistently perform. If you’re already a Middleton Maintenance contract member, you should take advantage of your personal technician visits as well. Your tech will be happy to recommend a filter change frequency for you that is perfectly suited to your home’s needs.
Still looking for answers? Contact us today with a phone call or a direct message for more information about air filters, air quality, and how you can take advantage of the incredible Middleton Maintenance Package today. We’re here for you, 24/7! 1-800-404-0371