TECH TIP OF THE MONTH- APRIL: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CHANGE MY HVAC AIR FILTERS?

By: Patricia Cermignano

How often should I change my HVAC air filters? This is a common question that we receive throughout the year, especially at the start of a new season. To help answer this question, the technicians at Bob Cermignano Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. felt that it was important to compile information to help educate our customers on the basics of HVAC air filters.

For starters, what is a HVAC air filter? A HVAC air filter, similar to the lint trap in your dryer, is a filter that collects dust, dirt and other microscopic particles that are in your home's air. When you turn on your heating or air conditioning system, the air filter collects the dirt and dust particles to help protect your HVAC system and to clean the air in your home. Once the air filter becomes too full of dust and dirt, your HVAC unit needs to work harder to keep the air flowing throughout your system which results in your monthly energy bills increasing.

There are three main types of air filters to know about:

 

  • 1" Standard Air Filter
  • 4" Media Filter
  • Electronic Air Cleaner (EAC)

 

While all of these filters essentially serve the same purpose, the maintenance required for each varies. Please see below for our recommendations on how frequently you should change or clean your HVAC air filters:

 

  • 1" Standard Air Filter: It is recommended that you check these air filters at least once a month; however, the air filter can last up to 90 days.
  • 4" Media Filter: It is recommended that you change these air filters every six months- (1) time at the beginning of the air conditioning season and (1) time at the beginning of the heat season.
  • Electronic Air Cleaner (EAC): It is recommended that you have an EAC cleaned twice a year- (1) time at the beginning of the air conditioning season and (1) time at the beginning of the heat season.

 

There are certain scenarios that can factor into how frequently you have to change or clean your HVAC air filters however. This list includes, but is not limited to:

 

  1. If there are any pets living in the house, you may have to change air filters more frequently than what is recommended.
  2. The number of people residing in the house can determine if an air filter needs to be changed more or less frequently than what is recommended. The more people living in a house may require the filter to be changed more frequently. On the other hand, the fewer people living in a house may mean that your air filter can be changed less frequently.
  3. If there are any smokers living in the house, you may have to change air filters more frequently than what is recommended.
  4. If you live in an area with large amounts of pollen bearing trees, you may have to change air filters more frequently than what is recommended.
  5. If someone in the house suffers from allergies, you may have to change air filters more frequently than what is recommended.

 

Now that you have a better understanding of what HVAC air filters are, it is important to understand how to change the HVAC air filters in your system. In new air conditioning and heating systems, the air filters are located close to the blower motor. In order to change an air filter, you locate the air filter in your HVAC system, remove the box or cover holding the air filter in place and take out the dirty air filter. You then discard the dirty air filter in a trash can or trash bag to contain any dirt from spreading throughout your house. After, you take the new air filter out of the packaging and insert it into the same location as the old air filter with the air flow arrow pointing towards the blower motor. It is critical to write down the date that the air filter was changed or cleaned so that you can keep track of when to change the air filter again. A simple way to remember this date is to make a note on your calendar on the 1st of every month for 1" Standard Air Filters to "Check or Replace Your Air Filter". For 4" Media Filters or EACs, we recommend making a note every 4-6 months on the 1st of the month to "Check or Replace Your Air Filter". Another helpful way to remember when the air filter was last changed is to write the date that the new air filter was installed or cleaned on the side of the air filter before putting it in the HVAC system.

Changing or cleaning your HVAC air filters on a regular basis is a huge part of maintaining your HVAC system. Not only does a clean air filter help reduce the energy your HVAC system consumes, but it also helps increase indoor air quality in your home. Our technicians change the air filters when we come out to perform our bi-annual cleanings of your air conditioning and heating systems as well. If you have not had your air conditioner or heater cleaned yet this year or have not changed your air filters recently, please call our office at 610-642-6323 to get on our schedule or visit us on our website at www.bobsredtrucks.com