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HVAC MYTHS- How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

In our series “HVAC Myths,” we debunk common misconceptions about heating and air that homeowners everywhere have believed for years!

The Myth:

You only have to replace your air filter once a year:

False! Most HVAC pros will agree that it could only take one good month of consistent air conditioner/heater use for an air filter to get completely clogged. This is bad news, since the air filter is a vital part of what makes your HVAC system efficient and effective.

The Facts:

The original purpose of air filters was to protect your unit and keep the dust particles off the equipment, but now the purpose of an air filter is to also sift out airborne contaminants like pet hair and dander. Changing an air filter once per year makes it really dirty, which in turn could choke the air system by constricting air flow. This forces your system to work overtime, putting undue stress on it and increasing your energy bill at the same time. In addition, low air flow through the filter can cause the coil of an air conditioner or heat pump to freeze over, effectively stopping the unit from working at all.  

The advised time between filter changes can be anywhere between every 20 days to one year, depending on your home’s situation. For instance, a vacation home would only need a filter change once or twice per year, depending on how much the HVAC system is used there, but an every day home with several occupants plus pets should change the filter at least every 30 days. A special exception to this rule would be homes that get regular HVAC maintenance can afford to wait an additional 20 – 30 days between filter changes.

The Lesson:

Changing your air filter consistently is a considerably lower cost than paying for HVAC system repairs. However, not all filters have the same efficiency or are the same size, so using the wrong one for your system can also cause damage. It is advised that you take your used air filter with you to the store to ensure you pick the proper size and efficient filter for your specific home unit. Also, we would advise purchasing a box of filters at one time to ensure you have extras on hand for the next filter change.

If you are unsure of where your filter is, how to install, or what kind of air filter would be best for your system, contact us today and we’ll help with all of your HVAC questions. Visit us online or give us a call at 1-800-404-0371 to speak with a comfort specialist today.

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