Most of us don't think about our furnace air filter very often, but it's an important part of your home's heating and ventilation system. While the furnace air filter's primary job is to keep your furnace clean to protect sensitive electronic components, it also helps keep your air ducts clean to some degree.
How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?Filter replacement frequency varies by filter type, by the size of your home and the overall air quality. A furnace in a larger home will move more air and clog the filter faster. If you have pets you’ll probably need to change your filter twice as often. Not only are pet dander and hair a leading cause of allergens, they also clog air filters quickly! Start with every two months for a pleated 1” filter and double the frequency if you have a large home or if you have pets.
Costlier filters may claim to last 90 days, but, in our experience, these filters are so restrictive that they should be changed monthly. Your furnace and air conditioner will breathe easier and so will you!
Choosing an Air FilterIf you’re really interested in cleaning the air in your home, we can install a whole-house air cleaner in place of your furnace filter. These filters clean the air better that any of the standard filters and they often only need changed annually. Buy your air filters by the case (usually 6 to 12) and keep them near your furnace. This will lessen the tendency to procrastinate about your air filter change. Buying by the case can also reduce the cost of each filter change.
Never run your system with an incorrectly sized filter. An poor-fitting furnace filter will allow dust and other contaminates to sneak around the filter and into your home. This is also the primary cause of clogged air conditioner coils. Clogged a/c coils reduce efficiency and compressor life, and can cause expensive problems down the road. Always turn off your furnace at the breaker panel or disconnect (not just the thermostat) before replacing your filter. Some furnaces have electrical wiring close to the filter location which could shock you if the power is not disconnected first.
If you're uncertain about where your furnace filter goes, what direction to install it, or what size or type to use, give us a call. We're always happy to help. For improved filtration and healthier indoor air quality, we offer whole-house air cleaners and other Indoor Air Quality systems. Our technicians can recommend the best solution based on your needs and your home.