5 Reasons to Change Your Furnace Filter Right Now
As a homeowner, one of the most important things you can do is replace your furnace filter throughout the year. A clean filter is crucial to making sure your furnace is working efficiently to improve the air quality in your home. Furnace filters capture dust, dirt and debris floating in your home’s indoor air, so if they aren’t being changed regularly throughout the year the filters become less efficient at doing their job. Here are our top five reasons why you should consistently change your furnace filter:
1. Improve Your Health
Having a clean furnace filter can greatly improve your health. Once a furnace filter is too dirty, it is unable to capture the particles floating around in your home’s air including dust, dirt and pet dander. Breathing in this unfiltered air comes with potential health risks, especially for people with allergies or asthma, because the polluted air can make allergy symptoms and other respiratory problems worse. A dirty furnace filter will also reduce airflow through your HVAC system, slowing down heating efficiency.
2. Help your HVAC System Run Efficiently
Replacing your furnace filter on a regular basis will help your HVAC system run efficiently. When the filter is clogged, your furnace has to work twice as hard to move air through your home. Airflow is one of the most important factors that affect your HVAC system. A dirty filter reduces the airflow to the furnace, forcing it to work harder to heat your home. A dirty filter can wear down your system and increase energy costs.
3. Save Money on the Energy Bill
When your HVAC filter is dirty, your system has to work harder to pull air to heat your home. This causes the system to run for longer periods of time, increasing the amount of energy it uses. A HVAC system with a clean filter uses less energy. According to the Department of Energy, nearly half of your energy bill comes from using your HVAC system. Replacing a dirty filter can help save you up to 15% of that bill. Spending money every couple of months on a furnace filter will end up saving you more money in the long run.
4. Extend the Life of Your HVAC System
Replacing your furnace filter on a regular basis will also extend the life of your HVAC system. A clogged filter will put extra strain on your system. Over time this added strain can cause irreparable damage, causing you to pay for expensive parts or a whole new system. Not changing your furnace filter is one of the most common reasons heating systems fail. This is the easiest part of preventative maintenance that you can do.
5. Cut Down on Maintenance Costs
Replacing your furnace filter on a regular basis will also cut down on your system’s maintenance costs. A clogged filter can cause the blower to stop working regularly. This is due to particles stuck inside the system and the ductwork. Replacing your filter will help prevent this particle buildup, and save you money on maintenance services like ductwork cleaning. However, even with changing your filter on a regular basis, you will still need some annual maintenance work done on your HVAC system. You don’t need to hire someone to change your filter, but you should hire a professional when testing the refrigerant, cleaning lines, inspecting ductwork and testing electronic systems.
Choosing the Right Furnace Filter
When it’s time to change your furnace filter, it’s important to buy the correct filter for your HVAC unit and personal needs. There are a ton of furnace filter sizes so we suggest measuring your filter first so it’s not as overwhelming when picking out your filter. Pro Tip: If you’re headed to the store to buy your furnace filter, snap a picture of the old filter first to reference.
You will also want to pay attention to the MERV rating when picking out your new furnace filter. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This rating system was created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers and determines how efficient your furnace filter is. Basically, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particle it can capture.
Selecting a MERV rating will be based on your personal household’s needs. While a MERV 4 filter is cheaper, it will not catch the smallest particles that may be in your home’s air. However, if you have health issues or allergy concerns you may want to look for a filter with a MERV rating of 11 or higher because these filters can capture the allergens triggering your allergies. For many households, a filter with a MERV rating of 7 or 8 will be sufficient. Remember when purchasing a new filter to make sure your system fan and filter slot can accommodate it.
When You Should Change Your Furnace Filter
There is no universal time frame to change your filter. The type of filter and several environmental factors determine when it should be replaced. We suggest checking the product information that came with your original filter packaging to determine when you should change your filter. A good rule of thumb is the thicker the filter is, the longer it can go without being replaced.
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