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Your air filter helps keep the air in your Levelland, Texas, home clean and your HVAC system operating efficiently. Changing your filter regularly will help control utility bills, reduce the likelihood of system breakdowns, and extend the life span of your HVAC system.

Signs That It’s Time to Change Your Filter

Over time, air filters can become clogged with dirt and debris, adversely affecting the overall performance of your HVAC system. Learning the warning signs can help you avoid the problems associated with a clogged filter. If your household surfaces are dustier than normal, your HVAC system is cycling on and off too frequently, or your filter is gray with dirt and dust buildup, it’s time to change it.

That said, it’s best to change your filter before you start noticing these warning signs. Check for the manufacturer’s replacement recommendation located on the filter’s packaging, and place a reminder on your calendar or phone to help you remember to change it.

Why Do You Need to Change Your Air Filter?

A clean air filter helps your HVAC system operate efficiently. If dirt accumulates on the filter, air can’t easily pass through it, increasing strain on your HVAC system and forcing it to work harder than it should. This can ultimately lead to overheating and breakdowns. Additionally, a clean air filter helps you maintain good indoor air quality and keep energy costs down. Changing it regularly is an easy, inexpensive step you can take to save money on utility bills and increase the longevity of your HVAC system.

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

On average, you should change your air filter every three months. However, your HVAC system, household characteristics, and the recommendations of your filter’s manufacturer may affect the necessary frequency.

If you smoke or have pets that shed, you’ll probably need to change your filter more often. When there are more contaminants in your home, your filter becomes clogged more quickly.

It’s usually necessary to change your filter more often during peak operating times, such as during the heat of the summer. Any time your HVAC system runs more often than usual, more air passes through the filter, leading to more frequent filter changes.

What Are MERV Ratings and Why Do They Matter?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and your filter’s MERV rating tells you how effective it is at filtering out dust and debris. MERV values range from 1 to 16, with MERV 16 filters capturing much more dust and debris than MERV 1 filters.

Don’t assume your HVAC system needs a MERV 16 filter. While MERV 16 filters are excellent at filtering particles, they also greatly restrict airflow — your HVAC system needs a powerful fan to operate with a MERV 16 rated filter. Check your HVAC system’s manual to determine the MERV rating your system needs.

Your Furnace Filter and HVAC Filter Are the Same

Your furnace and air-conditioning system share a filter. With forced-air heating and cooling systems, air is sucked in through your home’s return vents before it’s passed through the filter and into the air-conditioning system or furnace. Since heating and cooling units both utilize the filter, it’s necessary to change it year-round.

Are Washable Filters a Good Investment?

Most washable filters are electrostatic, meaning they utilize static electricity to trap dust and debris. Washable filters last for several years, and some homeowners prefer them to traditional filters since they’re more environmentally friendly.

To maintain a washable filter, you’ll need to wash it and let it dry as often as necessary. While washable filters are a good option for some homeowners, it’s important to note that electrostatic filters alone can’t trap the minute particulates that exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms. So, if an allergy or asthma sufferer lives in your home, you should probably stick with a traditional filter.

If you’re unsure about the best type of filter for your HVAC system or would like more information about how often to change your filter, give J.D.’s Prompt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call. We’d love to help you choose the perfect filter for your HVAC system.

Image provided by iStock

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