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How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filter?

image of a dirty filter next to a clean filter

Furnace Filter

Photo credit: The London Free Press

Keep Your Furnace Working Efficiently and Properly

As the icy cold winds of January blow, our thoughts naturally turn to . . . the importance of keeping our furnaces working properly (if you were thinking Caribbean vacation we get it!). Actually, no matter what the month or weather conditions, proper maintenance of your HVAC system is critical to keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Changing your furnace filter regularly is the easiest and most important thing you can do to ensure its proper and efficient operation. A clean filter keeps debris out of your HVAC system. Conversely, a dirty or clogged filter slows down airflow. Not surprisingly, this means your furnace works harder in winter (and your AC will be sweating to keep up in the summer), which wastes energy and drives up your energy bills.

How often should you change your HVAC filter?

The gold standard “rule of thumb” answer always has been “once a month.” It’s good advice. A more precise answer, though, depends on the type of filter you use, the HVAC manufacturer’s recommendations, the time of year, and what goes on in your home.

The best answer for your home depends on such questions as: do you have pets? does anyone smoke inside? Because everyone lives differently, it’s a good idea to look at your filter once a month no matter what type of filter you use.

“If it’s dark and clogged, go ahead and replace it,” advises Robert Moffitt, a spokesman for the American Lung Association’s Health House Program, which seeks to help people build and maintain homes that don’t trigger asthma attacks and other health problems.

It turns out that most of the dust in homes, no matter the particle size, becomes airborne due to activity. Activities like walking across the floor or burning toast cause bits of soot to go into the air, which is not removed by a furnace filter many yards away. To keep your indoor air clean, experts advise leaving shoes at the door, keeping smoke out of the house, and vacuuming regularly.

Bottom line: Save Energy and Money by Changing Your Filter

Keep your furnace and air conditioner working efficiently – and save hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs – by checking your filter once a month. If your manufacturer recommends changing it monthly, we urge you to do so.

If your manufacturer recommends changing it once every three months, we still recommend examining the filter every month and changing it more frequently if it is dirty or clogged.

It’s also a good idea to schedule professional maintenance services for your furnace or HVAC system at least once a year. Give us a call or click here to schedule a service call and let us know if you have any questions about your filter, including when and how to change it.

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