For homeowners everywhere, one of the key factors in everything from long-term HVAC system performance to air quality issues is the air filters found in your HVAC system. HVAC filters are meant to remove contaminants and impurities from the air, allowing it to cycle through your vents and the rest of your system to provide you and your family with healthy air at the desired temperature.
When HVAC filters are not changed often enough, the results can range from poor air quality up to premature wear-and-tear on your HVAC system, plus rising utility bills as a result of a less efficient setup. While the frequency with which you should change your filters depends in part on the specific filters you’ve purchased, it also depends on several factors that may impact the air quality in your home. Here are some situations that might dictate changing your HVAC filters more often than you normally would have.
When it comes to air filters, the MERV rating speaks to the degree of fine particles a given filter can trap. The higher the MERV rating on a filter you purchase, the smaller the particles it’s capable of filtering out of your air.
And while higher MERV-rated filters will do a better job filtering your air, this also means they’re prone to filling up with various contaminants faster. This means they often need to be changed more often to avoid clogging and poor air quality issues.
If you have high quantities of dust in your home, such as if you have an unfinished basement or other rooms that are not used often and allow dust to build up, you may need to change your filters more often. One way to limit this need is to vacuum and dust often, even in areas you don’t use on a regular basis.
Pet Hair or Dander
Do you have hairy pets in the home? Dogs and cats that shed copiously will clog up your filters much faster than they would otherwise, based on both their hair and their dander. To limit this, brush these pets often and be diligent about vacuuming regularly.
Your thermostat likely has two settings: ON and AUTO. The former runs your fan constantly, while the latter only runs it while the actual HVAC system is on for heating or cooling purposes. If the ON setting is being used, more air will pass through filters and they will clog faster, so they need to be changed more often.
During extreme summer temperatures, many HVAC systems need to run much more often to keep the home cooled. Plan to increase the frequency of filter replacements during the hottest summer months.