Replacing the filter in your air conditioning and heating system regularly keeps your HVAC equipment working properly and your energy bills low. It’s also something many of us forget about for months at a time, which can potentially contribute to expensive issues down the line. Plugged filters prevent air from flowing through the HVAC unit, in a sense a plugged filter is smothering the unit. Plugged filters lead to higher energy bills.
Every time your system runs, dust collects in the filter. So, when do you know it’s time to change the filter? Even a new filter quickly has a layer of dust, a small layer of dust in the filter’s material is fine. If there’s a coating of dust covering thick enough that you can’t see through the filter material itself, your filter change is overdue. Every few weeks, look at your filter. If the filter is covered in dust or has a musty odor, change it. If in doubt, it’s always best to change your filter.
So, a general rule of thumb is the filter should be changed at least every 90 days. If you have pets, every 2 months. Cats and dogs shed. The dander and hair end up in the filters. If you have more than 2 pets you may have to change the filter every month. If anyone in your house has allergies: 20-45 days. If you have the more expensive pleated filters you may be able to wait up to 6 months to change your filter. For basic 1″air filters, the average time for replacement is 30-60 days. After changing the filters over the course of a year you can determine what works best for your system.
Filters are relatively inexpensive, and a small cost to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. So set a reminder on your phone or install a smart thermostat that sends you an alert message when it’s time to install a new filter.