Your furnace air filter is an essential component to your home's heating and cooling system. Cool air is drawn through the return ducts of your HVAC system and enters your furnace, and once heated pushes back out into your home's rooms. This air passes through your furnace's filter, which helps to trap airborne contaminants, such as hair, dust, pet hair, and other debris. Furnace filters serve to improve and maintain indoor air quality by preventing these airborne particles from reentering your home.
Most homeowners have probably found themselves wondering at one point or another: does my furnace filter need replacing? It most certainly does, and quite regularly so at that. Thankfully, changing your furnace filter is a fairly straight forward task. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the question of how often you should change your furnace filter, the importance of installing these new filters, and the risks that not maintaining the regular replacement of furnace filters can run you.
How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filter?
It is generally recommended by professionals to perform an air filter replacement at least once every 90 days, or every 3 months. There are several factors than can shorten the recommended time between filter replacements, such as pets, allergies, and time of year. The best way to know how often your own furnace filter needs replacing is by performing monthly inspections.
Victory Air Mechanical is proud to provide convenient furnace filter replacement in Cincinnati. Contact us to easily schedule an appointment today!
Why It's Important to Change Your Furnace Filter Regularly
There are several reasons why regularly changing your furnace filter is essential for your household. The switching of dirty filters with a clean filter will greatly reduce the quantity of airborne dust and other debris in your home, which in turn can have numerous health-related and economic advantages.
The frequent replacement of your furnace's air filter ensures improvement and maintenance of your home's indoor air quality. When you do not replace your air filter regularly, it can become clogged, preventing proper air filtration and thusly negatively impacting the quality of your home's air. A new filter is better equipped to trap more airborne contaminants, such as dust mites, pet fur, dander, and mold.
When your furnace filter is left unchanged, and gradually becomes more and more clogged with dust, hair, and other particles, it becomes more difficult for air to pass through. When your furnace system needs to work harder to push this air through, this causes more energy to be used - which results in more costly energy bills and excess energy consumption. The US Department of Energy estimates that regularly replacing your home's furnace filter can minimize your system's energy usage by 15%
HVAC System Damage
When your HVAC system starts working harder than normal to be able to push air through your clogged, dirty filters, you run the risk of system failure. In fact, according to the Diamond Certified Organization, a clogged furnace filter is the primary cause of HVAC equipment failure. This can lead to the need for costly HVAC repair services, all easily avoidable by regular air filter replacement.
Health and Safety Concerns
When an old filter leads to the dwindling of your home's air quality, this can put you and your family at risk for several health concerns. From short-term effects such as headaches, eye and skin irritation, dry throat, allergy symptoms and fatigues, to possible long-term consequences such as asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory issues, it is essential to prevent a clogged filter by replacing your furnace filter on a regular schedule.
Though unlikely, one of the most serious risks of a dirty filter is the risk of a furnace fire. In extreme cases, a filter may become so clogged that air is no longer able to pass through it. This can lead to a number of malfunctions, many of which can result in a fire starting. For the safety of your household, it is essential to maintain regular filter replacements.
Reasons You May Need to Change Your Furnace Filter More Often
Now that we know the recommendation for furnace filter changes and the reasons why having clean furnace filters is so important, it's essential to consider your own personal lifestyle and household. While experts generally agree upon the 3 month replacement suggestion, there are several caveats to this rule that can require you to replace your home's furnace filter more often than every 90 days.
If you live in a colder climate, you are more likely to be running your heating system more regularly - if not constantly - during the colder months of fall and winter. More regular use of your HVAC system and furnace tends to cause more build up of dust, dirt, and other various airborne pollutants in your filter, requiring more frequent changes.
We love having them around, but most pets shed fur. If you have dogs or cats at home, the presence of pet hair and pet dander in the air can mean that your furnace's filter gets clogged much quicker than that of a pet-free home. Regular inspections are necessary to make sure that you are replacing the filter as often as needed for your lifestyle.
Allergies and Asthma
Households with members that suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions should be all the more prudent when it comes to furnace air filter replacement. These sensitive groups can be especially susceptible to health concerns caused by poor indoor air quality, and may require more frequent filter replacements to maintain adequate air quality.
Similarly to individuals with respiratory system concerns, children are especially sensitive to poor indoor air quality. The presence of dust, dander, and other particles in the air can be detrimental to the health of younger children, therefore households with children should maintain regular filter inspections.
How to Check/Change Your Furnace Filter
Before attempting to check or change your furnace filter, it is always best to consult your furnace's unique manual to ensure you proceed correctly for your own safety. Generally, the process is quite straight-forward:
- Turn off the furnace.
- Locate the service panel and remove it.
- Remove the existing filter by sliding it out (located near the intake/outtake blower fan). Inspect.
- If a replacement is necessary, slide in a new filter. If not, slide the old one back in.
- Turn the furnace back on.
The best practice is to inspect your furnace filter every 30 days. Different kinds of filters can be more or less effective at filtering air contaminants - based on their minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating - which can affect how quickly your filter becomes full. You may be asking yourself what exactly to look for to assess if the filter needs changing yet or not. A good idea is to take out the filter, hold it up to the light, and evaluate the amount of light that passes through. If you still notice quite a bit of light through the filter, you can reinstall it and check back again the next month. If little to no light passes through, replace the filter with a new one.
As time passes, and as you keep regularly inspecting your furnace filter, you will feel more comfortable judging when it may be in need of a replacement.
Never Forget Another Filter Change
1) Change With the Seasons
Life can get busy, so it's not always easy trying to remember to change your furnace filter every 90 days or less. An effective way of making sure you don't forget is by changing your filter at least as often as the seasons change, ensuring a replacement at least every 3 months or so. Remember that different factors related to your home and lifestyle may mean you need changes more frequent than this schedule.
2) Set a Reminder On Your Phone
Another efficient way of remembering to replace your furnace filter is by setting a recurring reminder on your cell phone or any other device. In such a digitized age, this is often the best way to ensure we remember to complete tasks that can easily slip our minds.
3) Habit Stack With Other Monthly Household Chores
Homeownership is a busy job. Try habit stacking by adding a monthly check of your furnace filter to your already existing monthly household chores to ensure that you are always on top of replacing the filter whenever necessary.
How to Keep Your Cincinnati, Ohio Home's Furnace Running Smoothly
Regular maintenance of your furnace and HVAC system is important to ensure it is running as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Those looking for Cincinnati furnace repair service or emergency furnace repair should look no further than Victory Air Mechanical, Cincinnati's trusted providers of furnace care since 2006. For over 15 years, our team of experienced professionals have been proudly providing residents of Cincinnati with the highest quality furnace repair and maintenance solutions. Click here to learn about our comprehensive list of available furnace services, and make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape with Victory Air Mechanical!