Replacing your air filter helps prevent damage to your HVAC system. New filters permit more airflow, and they’ll filter allergens better. However, a lot of homeowners don’t know how often they should replace them. As a general rule of thumb, you should put new ones in at least every 90 days. Some filters might need replacements every month, though. There are high-end filters that could last even longer; it all depends on the type of system and how it’s been used.
Types of Air Filters for Your HVAC System
There are a ton of different air filters out there. Each type has its own recommended lifespan. Plus, different types offer differing benefits.
Here are the most common filter types:
- Polyester or fiberglass
Polyester or fiberglass filters tend to last for the least amount of time. Most manufacturers recommend replacing them once a month.
Pleated filters last a lot longer. Usually, they’re meant to be replaced every three to six months. Check your filter’s packaging to see how long yours should last.
Washable filters can be reused after washing them. Still, you’ll want to replace them at least every couple of years.
Electrostatic filters use charged fibers to trap particulates in the air. You can find them available as disposable or reusable models. Disposable ones tend to last for 30 days, whereas reusable ones can last for several years.
What Size of Filter Do You Need?
Air filters also vary by their size. Picking the right-sized filter is crucial. Otherwise, it won’t fit your HVAC system.
Here are the most common sizes on the market:
- 16 x 25 x 1 inches
- 20 x 25 x 1 inches
- 20 x 20 x 1 inches
- 16 x 20 x 1 inches
- 20 x 25 x 5 inches
These numbers represent the filter’s height, width, and thickness, respectively.
Usually, you can remove your old filter to check its size. Most of the time, it’ll be listed along the side of it. Incorrectly sized filters either won’t fit, or they won’t filter the air well.
Factors That Impact Your Air Filter’s Lifespan
Although they’ve got recommended lifespans, you might need to replace them more frequently. Sometimes, you might need to replace them even more often than recommended. Or, in some cases, they might last longer.
If your home gets a lot of traffic, that will decrease your filter’s lifespans. The more people who live in the home, the shorter your filters tend to last.
Pets are another major factor that impacts a filter’s lifespan. Pets tend to shed a lot of hair. Then, that hair finds its way into the ventilation. Once there, they’ll stick to the filter’s surface, clogging it up. If you’ve got pets, you might want to replace your filters more frequently.
Finally, your home’s size and location also contribute to a filter’s longevity. Living in a busy area means there will be more smog in the air. And, larger homes have to circulate more air. Both of these will make replacements necessary more often.
Benefits of Replacing Your Air Filter
Replacing filters often has a ton of benefits. It’ll reduce the need for repairs and improve your home’s air quality. In fact, it can even help lower your utility bills, too.
Clogged filters restrict airflow, making the system work harder. The harder your system has to work, the more it’ll cost to run. Dirty filters won’t filter the air as well, so getting them replaced often could help improve your home’s air quality.
If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, you should replace filters often. The more often you replace them, the better your IAQ tends to be.
Picking the Best Air Filter for Your Home
With so many options, picking the right filter might feel a little overwhelming. Fortunately, the most important thing to consider is the filter’s size. Other than that, it’s up to personal preference. We’ve already discussed the most common filters’ lifespans. However, there are a few other things that distinguish them from each other.
Most air filters will have something called a MERV rating. This is its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher a filter MERV rating, the better filtration it’ll provide. People with allergies should choose a filter with the highest MERV rating possible.
We can categorize filters by these ratings as well. Typically, a MERV rating of at least eight will remove the most harmful particles. People with allergies should choose a filter with a MERV rating above 13. These filters work well enough to remove allergens like pollen and pet dander from the air. Higher MERV ratings could even help you eliminate odors from the air.
Better filters could help to prolong your HVAC system’s lifespan as well. By filtering out more particles, fewer of them will travel through the system. Usually, these particles accumulate on the system’s interior components, causing damage. Filtering them out might prevent the need for repairs. Still, you should always have a professional maintain your system regularly.
Symptoms of Dirty Air Filters
How can you tell when you need to replace your air filters? You should check the manufacturer’s recommended lifespan. However, there are a few other signs you could look out for.
If you notice any of the following, contact a professional to help you replace your filters:
- Dust accumulating on vents
- Loss of airflow
- Strange noises from the AC
- Poor cooling power
Dirty filters could make it take a lot longer for your home to reach its desired temperature. Plus, you’ll start noticing dust all over the place. It might build up on top of your fans or shelves. These all indicate that it’s time to replace the filter.
Could Replacing My Filter Lower My Utility Bill?
If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in your cooling costs, the issue could be related to your filter.
Dirty filters make it so that your system must work even harder to blow air. As a result, your system will stay on for longer. The longer your system is on, the higher your utility bills will be.
Clean filters allow the system to blow air freely. So, it doesn’t take as much energy to experience the same amount of cooling. Besides your utility bills, dirty filters could increase your repair expenses as well. Filters should prevent particulates and other issues from harming your HVAC system. By making sure your system has clean filters, you’ll spend a lot less on repairs over time.
Your Trusted HVAC Experts
Sano Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving the residents of Orange County for more than 14 years. We’d love to help you out by replacing your air filters. You can also rely on us to repair, maintain, and install air conditioning units and furnaces. We could even help you set up a zoning system for your home. Get in touch with Sano Heating & Air Conditioning today to request a free quote and to let us help you keep your home running smoothly.