All HVAC systems have air filters, which need to be replaced regularly. Unfortunately, far too many homeowners often neglect this simple DIY task that can lead to poor indoor air quality and increased wear and tear on your heating and cooling system.
In our most recent blog, the home comfort professionals at Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric discuss why you should replace your dirty furnace filters regularly and how often this task should occur.
The Importance of Regularly Changing Furnace Filters
1. Enjoy better air quality
Research performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown that the air we breathe indoors can be two to five times or more polluted than the air that is breathed outside. Furnaces are supplied with filter units to help reduce the amount of dirt, grime, dust and potential allergens that usually circulate throughout a home.
Regardless of how clean your home may be inside, millions of pollen, mold, dust and pet dander spores are still present. Keeping your furnace filter clean and replacing it regularly with a new filter will trap airborne contaminants and other irritants to prevent them from accumulating in your home. This will ensure that your family is as healthy and comfortable as possible while spending time indoors.
2. Save money
Clogged and dirty filters cause HVAC systems to work harder than necessary to produce sufficient heat in winter or cooler air in summer to keep your family comfortable indoors. This causes your energy bills to rise unnecessarily. According to The Department of Energy, when a furnace air filter is changed at recommended intervals, it can help save between 5% to 15% on energy bills.
3. Extend the life of your furnace
As with any other form of machinery or appliance, performing regular maintenance, including replacing furnace filters, can extend the lifespan of your HVAC system. Failure to replace the filter with a new filter at prescribed intervals will cause dirt to accumulate in the working parts which can cause the system to malfunction or overheat, potentially leading to premature replacement.
Symptoms Indicating that It’s Time to Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
One of the most common signs that your HVAC system’s air filter needs replacement is when your home starts smelling dusty or even moldy. Have you noticed that there seems to be more dust than usual in your home, even after cleaning? This is an indication of a clogged filter as well. If you or any of your family members seem to be suffering from itchy, watery eyes or are coughing and sneezing more than usual, it is time to replace your existing furnace air filter with a clean filter.
How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filter
Many factors go into the regularity in which to replace your HVAC system’s air filter, most notably, the type of furnace filter you buy. Typically, furnace filters last about one month to one year.
- 1-inch and 2-inch air filters should be replaced about every month
- 3-inch and 4-inch filters require replacement after 6 months
- 5-inch and 6-inch air filters need a change after 6 to 9 months
Furnace filters are rated by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. MERV ratings are typically rated on a scale of 1-16, with the higher number being the most efficient. It’s important, though, to review your owner’s manual to ensure you’re not buying a furnace filter that is too efficient for the type of system you own, as it can restrict airflow too much.
Other factors that determine how frequently you should replace your filters include the size of your home, whether your own pets, if smoking is allowed indoors and HVAC system usage. Your HVAC system’s owner’s manual is the best guide to determine the type of furnace filter you need and how often to replace it.
Contact Ravinia Plumbing for Furnace Maintenance and Repair Service
If you are looking for a furnace technician that is reliable, experienced and accredited, look no further than Ravinia Plumbing. Ravinia Plumbing has been in business for 95 years and has become well-known throughout Chicago’s Northwest suburbs and Chicago’s North Shore for providing the best level of customer service possible. Contact us today if you would like to find out more about how your furnace works or if you would like to schedule a maintenance inspection.