Why (and When) You Should Get Serious About Changing Your Air Filter

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There’s a good chance that you don’t think about your HVAC system very often. It gets on with its job, and you get on with living. However, some regular easy maintenance is needed to keep the system running efficiently and cost-effectively, otherwise you risk high bills, inefficient performance, and even a system breakdown. Avoid hefty repair bills, and keep your environment feeling great by learning these simple ins-and-outs of your HVAC air filter.

Why your HVAC air filter matters

Before we look at how often you should replace your air filter, let’s look at why the air filter matters. While we don’t realize it day-to-day (unless you suffer from allergies) the air we breathe isn’t as clean as we think. There are tiny airborne particles of dust and debris, and there’s also bacteria, viruses, pollutants from car exhaust and factories, and pollen. We developed our nose hairs as a natural way to filter out some of these irritants from the air we breathe into our respiratory systems. Of course, they aren’t always up to the task, as anyone with hayfever will attest to.

Electronics and other pieces of machinery don’t have any equivalent to our biological filters. In fact, modern electronics actively attract dust as a byproduct of how they work. Dust can be a killer for any complex machinery, as it builds up to block vents, creates friction that can cause overheating, and damages the internal workings of your most expensive items. This means they’re actively sucking that dusty air into their most delicate parts. Directly cleaning these areas is generally not advised. Not only will brushes and cloths quickly create friction (and static electricity) but you can also manually knock solder loose. This is why you will find filters on many modern appliances, from your PC to your dryer. They either prevent the appliance from kicking out extra dust, fluff, and debris, or help prevent the same from getting in.

Change your HVAC filter regularly

Any filter, no matter the quality, only has a set working life. It will eventually become clogged, loaded with the dust and dirt it has pulled out of the air flowing into your home. If it becomes too clogged, it could even collapse. As filters must pull air through the filter body into the unit, it’s necessary for them to be pretty delicate. Otherwise, the appliance would have to work too hard to pull air. Once the filter is blocked, not only are you exposed to the unfiltered air, but the HVAC system has to work harder to pull air into your home through that restricted airflow, causing unnecessary wear and tear on more expensive components.

When should you replace your HVAC filter? Start with the manufacturer’s guidelines, but bear in mind it could need replacing sooner, such as during pollen-heavy seasons, or if you live in an area with dusty or ‘dirty’ air.

Make sure to schedule this easy piece of home maintenance into your regular DIY schedule, and you’ll have a happier, healthier home to enjoy, dust-free!