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How Often Should I Change the HVAC System’s Air Filters?

pleated-air-filterLast year we wrote a tutorial post about how to change the air filter in your HVAC system. As a brief reminder of why this is important, a clogged air filter can cause the following problems for your air conditioning and heating system:

  • A significant plunge in energy efficiency because the blower motor must strain harder against the obstructions in the filter.
  • Potential damage to the interior of the HVAC system because of dust and dirt infiltration.
  • A general decline in comfort around the house because there will no longer be sufficient airflow.

A question we often hear from customers is, “How often does the filter need to be changed?” We’re glad people ask this, because there’s a misleading belief—one we’ve seen too often wandering around the Internet—that the air filter only needs to be changed once a year. Nothing could be further from the truth! In some cases, an HVAC filter needs to be changed as often as once a month.

Factors That Determine Filter Change Frequency

There isn’t a single answer to the question about how often an HVAC filter must be changed. The frequency depends on a number of factors:

  1. How often the heater and air conditioner run during heating and cooling season.
  2. The amount of dust, dander, and lint circulating through the rooms.
  3. The type of filter used.

Because we have over 30 years of experience with Northern Indiana weather conditions, we have a good idea about #1. We can’t speak directly to #2 because it changes from house to house. As for #3, we can give you a breakdown of the filter types and how often they need to be changed based on our regular weather conditions:

  • Panel filters: These are inexpensive filters made of basic screens of fiberglass. You can purchase them in packs that cost about a dollar per filter. We recommend changing these filters every month.
  • Pleated filters: More expensive but more effective filters made from polyester. A pleated filter should be changed every 3 to 4 months.
  • Media filter: A more powerful type of pleated filter, you may only need to change this filter type twice a year.
  • Permanent filters: These filters aren’t changed, but cleaned, something they should receive monthly. We don’t recommend pleated filters because they can trap bacteria and develop mold.

The best way to know for certain how often you should change the filter is to check on it every 4 to 6 weeks to see if it is becoming clogged. (It’s a good idea to write the date the filter was put in place with a marker on its side; that way you’ll always know how long it’s been in.) You’ll soon learn the pattern of how often the filter becomes congested.

Our Maintenance Technicians Can Help!

Remember to schedule your spring air conditioning maintenance in Bluffton, IN or the surrounding areas with our team. Our technicians can help you determine how often you should have your HVAC system filter changed. Get in touch with us to sign up for our HomeSavers Club so you’ll always have the maintenance assistance necessary for excellent cooling and heating around the year.

Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning—A company you’ve grown to trust.

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