Importance of Changing Your HVAC Systems Air Filter

According to the EPA, the indoor air we are exposed to is 70% more polluted than the outdoor air and studies show that the average American spends nearly 90% of their time indoors. This puts us all at a greater risk of contracting various diseases from indoor air pollutants. The EPA actually ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five public health risks.

Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems air filters should be changed not when they're dirty but on frequently planned intervals. During peak seasons (summer and winter) your system is working much harder and therefore your air filter will need to be checked and replaced more often. It’s a fairly simple and basic concept, the dirtier your air filter is the harder your system will need to work to heat or cool your home. Not only will it need to work harder, it will perform less efficiently and the added strain on your system will shorten its life expectancy considerably. 

Benefits of changing your air filter:

  • Healthier indoor air. An air filter’s job is to keep the air in your home clear of dusts, molds, pollens and other contaminants, which can worsen allergies and can cause diseases. By changing out your filter on a regular basis you insure you are not re-circulating dust, molds, pollens and other contaminants back through your system and into your home.
  • Increase efficiency & save money. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make your system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy and decreasing the efficiency of your system. When your system is not working as efficiently as it should, it is using more energy, which means you will be paying more to heat or cool your home.
  • Increase longevity of your heating & cooling system. An air filter’s job is also to keep the interior of your HVAC system clean. According to Energy Star, a joint venture of the EPA and US Dept. of Energy, “Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of heating and cooling system failure.” A clean filter will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
  • Environmentally conscious. When filters aren’t clean, it makes your system work harder to give you cooler (or warmer) air. This means more energy is used and wasted energy means more pollution. The more electricity you consume, the more carbon dioxide and other green house gases you release in the air. We all need to do our part to help the environment when and wherever we can – our motto at John C. Flood “Think Green, We Do!”

Filters should always be changed or cleaned based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. It’s probably the easiest thing to do to keep your HVAC system clean, running efficiently, reduce your maintenance costs and extend the overall life of your system.

For your standard 1"-3" air filters, the manufacturers basically tell you to change them every 30-60 days, which is actually a great rule of thumb. But general rules aren't always for everybody. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them even more often. Or, if you're in a more remote area, less occupied home (like a vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter quick and with great success. Of course the air filter is just doing its job by capturing pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause extremely weak HVAC performance.