Changing your furnace filter regularly has a great impact on your health, and the health of your HVAC system. Indoor air is polluted with contaminants — as much as five times more polluted than the air you breathe outdoors. The right furnace filter works to prevent contaminants from reaching your living areas, and promotes effective airflow throughout your HVAC system and your home. Your trusted, local HVAC contractor can assist you in finding the best furnace filter option to keep your home and system healthier. Also, you can contact our team of HVAC experts for assistance finding the best solution for your home.
Pollutants are lurking in your home
The products you use each day, the particles you track in from outdoors, even your own body — each of these sources contribute to the pollution inside your home.
The average home is affected by a number of pollutants, including:
- Dust mites
- Auto Emissions
- Germs and viruses
- Dead skin
- Pet dander
- Pollen and other allergens
- Chemical fumes
Your filter is your first line of defense
A high-efficiency filter that is rated MERV 8 or above has the power to trap airborne contaminants before they travel through your system and back into to your living areas. This keeps your home clean and clear of particulates that can aggravate asthma and allergies, and worsen respiratory illnesses or colds. Furnace filters rated MERV 13 and above help remove illness-causing germs, viruses, and bacteria from your home, keeping everyone healthier.
Make filter changes a priority
Over time, the trapped contaminants build up on the filter, restricting airflow and the filter’s ability to remove new pollutants from your indoor air. A dirty filter also creates strain on your HVAC system, causing it to work harder to move conditioned air to your living areas. In turn, dirty filters cause excess energy use, increasing your energy bills.
It is recommended that you change your filter according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, though depending on the conditions of your home as well as the outdoor air quality, you may find it necessary to do so more frequently. Standard 1-inch filters need to be changed every 1 to 3 months, while high-efficiency filters should be changed approximately every 6 to 9 months. Staying on top of furnace filter changes will positively affect the health of your family and your HVAC system by improving your indoor air quality.
Six Ways to Remember it’s Time to Change Your Furnace Filter
1. Prepare a checklist to complete over the year.
The best way to get started is to prepare a checklist of home maintenance tasks and display it somewhere prominently. The list should include important tasks and when they should be completed. Include things like changing air filters, scheduling maintenance checkups, cleaning the unit, repairing ducts, etc.
2. Create a calendar or schedule (and stick to it).
Once you’ve created your checklist, create a calendar of when everything should be completed and stick to it. It can help to fall into a routine — for example, scheduling maintenance checkups in the spring or checking air filters on the first of every month. The key is to hold yourself accountable. Falling behind on things like changing air filters or scheduling maintenance checkups can allow small problems to grow into big (and costly) ones.
3. Set a reminder to change your air filters.
Ideally, air filters should be changed every one to three months, depending on the type of filter you have. Certain high efficiency filters may only need to be changed once a year, so check your model and set an alarm accordingly. Forgetting to change air filters can cause serious issues to your system’s blower motor. Over time, the dirt builds up on your filter, affecting the amount of air that the furnace is able to pull through the filter. In turn, this makes the blower motor work harder to get the air — increasing your electricity bill and eventually causing your blower motor to overheat and dramatically decrease its life expectancy.
To help avoid this, consider setting an alarm to help remind you to change your air filters. Use your phone to create a personalized alarm to help remind yourself. Some phones even allow you to set it to go off on a schedule so you never forget.
4. Write reminders on the filters themselves.
The cardboard edge of the filter is a perfect surface for writing. If you’re a visual person, take a dark marker and write the date the filter needs to be changed directly on the cardboard. You’ll be able to see it every time you pass the filter. You could also hide a sticky note on or near your thermostat reminding you of important tasks to be done.
5. Time maintenance check-ups with important dates.
Sure, nobody really wants to spend their birthday with their maintenance man. However, lining up yearly HVAC check-ups with important dates (like always doing it the week after your birthday, or every spring) can help you remember them. Or, consider lining up maintenance check-ups around the time changes, using “fall back” for winter maintenance and “spring forward” for summer maintenance.
As you see the date approaching, it will remind you of whatever task needs to be done. Likewise, if you forget when something needs to be completed, lining it up with an important date can help jog your memory.
6. Reward yourself for remembering.
Having something to look forward to can help motivate you to complete your home HVAC tasks. And keeping your HVAC system running smoothly saves you money, so why not put a little of that earned cash toward yourself?
Even something as small as ordering takeout or going to see a new movie after replacing your air filters can help motivate you to complete what might be an otherwise mundane task.
If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact a certified HVAC professional near you.