How often should I change my furnace filters?
Changing your furnace filters regularly will help improve your indoor air quality. Using a great furnace air filter will improve it even more. Even the best furnace filter is limited if not properly maintained. Many HVAC furnace filters say they last up to 3-months. This may be true because air is bypassing them and so is dust and other contaminants. If you are using a cardboard framed filter that creates a gap between it and the return air grille, quarterly changes are good enough. If you are more concerned about your indoor air quality, you may want to choose a better filter and change it monthly.
As the seasons change, we slowly start thinking about our furnaces and begin checking their functionality. This is the time of year when most people use their furnaces almost all the time. That’s why it is crucial to take care of your furnace by keeping the furnace air filters changed regularly. By doing this, you are taking steps to ensure the air you and your family are breathing is as clean as possible but it also improves the performance of your furnace and air conditioner.
Every Home is Different
There are many people who are wondering how often they should change their furnace filters. While it is true that the air filter package says that furnace filters last for up to three months, it is also true that their functionality is determined by few other factors. If you want to find the right answer, you need to consider few things.
Furnace Filters and Pets
First of all, the presence of pets can affect the efficiency of the filters. For instance, if you have multiple pets, you may find you need to change the furnace filters more frequently. Some pets create more dust and dander than others. If you have a dog and a cat your home is probably less dusty than a home with two birds, a guinea pig, three dogs and four cats. The amount of dust and dander created by multiple sources will cause your furnace filters to need changing every month versus every three months.
How Much Dust is in My Home?
Another source of dust is you. It is estimated that we shed our top layer of skin every 27 days.
“Throughout your life, your skin will change constantly, for better or worse. In fact, your skin will regenerate itself approximately every 27 days. Proper skin care is essential to maintaining the health and vitality of this protective organ.” http://www.webmd.com/beauty/wrinkles/cosmetic-procedures-overview-skin
It is also estimated that an average home accumulates more than 40 pounds of dust a year according to the University of Missouri Health Care ENT and Allergy Center. http://medicine.missouri.edu/ent/uploads/Dustmites-USNEWS.pdf The problem with all that dust is millions of dust mites thrive in that environment and one of the most economical ways to capture dust is with a good furnace filter that is changed regularly.
Furnace Air Filter Sizes Do Matter
Frequency of changing the furnace filter also depends on the size of the filter. Smaller filters must be changed more often if the HVAC furnace is installed properly and door air flow occurs. Larger filters like 20×20, 20×25 and 20×30 may be changed less often but the amount of pets, dander and air flow will greatly influence this no matter what size you are using.
Other Causes of Dust
Furthermore, you must be aware of the level of dust in your home. There are many reasons why dust is present in your home or around your home. No matter what the reason is, if there is more dust in your area, you will have to change the furnace filters more frequently. In addition, if you often leave the windows and doors open, your home will have more dust and allergens which will affect the performance of the filters. Other causes of dust include:
- Improperly sealed HVAC ducts
- Poorly air sealed attic
- poorly air sealed crawl space
- poorly air sealed garage
- poorly air sealed basement
- Living near high traffic area
- Living in wooded areas
- Poor housekeeping
- Stuffed animals
- Used clothes, furniture, antiques
- Woodworking in home or attached work areas
Why do they say, “Lasts up to 3 Months?”
If you are curious why the manufacturers usually say that the filters last for 3 months, you should know that most furnace filters do not fit properly and allow dust and other particles to bypass the air filter media. The furnace filter should seal to the Return air frame to eliminate air bypass. Imagine if you are filtering water and 25% of the water you drink goes around the filter. Would you still want to drink the water?
Air, water, food – Which is more important?
Here’s a question. Which is more important to be clean and healthy, air you breathe, water you drink or food you eat? Maybe this will help. How long can you go without food? Medically speaking 30-50 days. How long can you go with water? up to 3 days. How long without air? 1 to 2 minutes.
They also allow the system to get proper air flow. If the filter is left unchanged, it will become clogged and you won’t receive sufficient amount of air in the home. You will have to use the system for a longer period of time to reach the desired temperature which ultimately means higher bills.
What is worth mentioning is that sometimes these filters seem like they work in the right way and last longer, but only because they don’t fit right. They create gasps and the air circulates through these gasps unfiltered. This is even worse. If you want to avoid situations like this, you need to use high-quality furnace filters like AirSafe 2000 filters. These custom furnace filters can fit in any system and keep you safe from dust and allergens.