Regularly changing the air filter in your Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system ensures the system is running efficiently, thus consuming less power. It also allows your appliances to work properly and last longer.
Air filters are responsible for filtering dust and bacteria from the air we breathe at home. Thus they end up collecting dirt over time and need to be replaced.
There are different Air filters in the market. Some air filters will last longer than others. You can use the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating to determine which filter to purchase.
A high MERV signifies better quality, which in turn means the air filter lasts longer. However, air filters with a high MERV rating may slow the air flow in the AC unit. To balance this out, it is recommended to pick air filters with a rating of 6 to 8.
How Often Should I Change my Home Air Filter?
There are several determinants of how often to change the AC filter. These include:
- The number of pets in a home
There is a certain rule of thumb applied to deciding the frequency of when you change your filter. One of them happens to be paying attention to the number of pets you have.
Dogs and cats are frequent fur shedders and their hair can get into the filter. If you have up to two or three pets, the number of times you change your filter will be more than someone with only one pet.
- The number of people in living in the home
Just as you have to change your filter frequently due to having pets, the same applies to the number of individuals living in a space.
Different people will be going in and out and coming in contact with dirt, trash and other pollutants. This in turn can increase the dirt trapped in the filter.
- The type of air filter being used
It is important that you pay attention to the type of filter you purchase. Some filters are made to last for a year while others can only last for 3 months. The common types of filters include HEPA, Basic, Ionizers, Carbon and UV light filters. Each of them have their requirements.
- The level of air pollution and construction in the surroundings
If you live in a polluted area, you will find yourself changing your filter more often than someone living in a non-polluted region due to less dust and irritants in the surroundings.
- The indoor air quality
Living with people who suffer from allergies will also determine when to replace the air filter. When you have people with weak immune systems like children, you should also change more frequently.
When to Change AC filter
Here is a breakdown on when to change air filter based on different factors.
- If you use 1”-3” air filters manufacturers recommend changing them every 30-60 days. However, if you have allergies, you can change even more often.
- In a vacation home, change the air filter every 6-12 months
- If you live alone with no pets or allergies, change every 6-12 months
- If you live in an “average” suburban home and have no pets, change every 90 days.
- If you live with a pet change, every 2 months.
- In case you have more that one pet or live with someone with allergies: every 20-45 days.
Changing the air filter is something you can do by yourself, especially if your air vents are easily accessible. If you do not trust yourself, you can seek help from an AC company in replacing the air filter. There are companies you can subscribe to so that they can be coming to your home regularly for maintenance purposes.
To Change or not?
How often should I change my home air filter? As noted above, whenever those factors are met.
Changing the air filter regularly is essential for your health and that of your family. Clean air means fewer chances of acquiring bacteria that may be harmful in your own home.
Furthermore, you can also save money since your AC system will be running more smoothly and thus consuming less energy. In fact, according to the US Department of Energy, a new air filter can save the energy consumption of your AC by 5% to 15%.
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