Generally, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing your air filters every 90 days, or 3 months. That can change based on where your home is located (ex. dusty, dry climates), if you have any pets, and the age of your system and equipment. If you have pets in the home, you should consider changing your filter every 60 days, or 2 months, and for homes with multiple pets or people with allergies or respiratory conditions, we recommend changing your filter every 20-45 days. Vacation homes or vacant homes that don’t see much use can typically wait to change out filters every 9-12 months. The general consensus is, the more you use your home, the more you need to change your air filter.
What Happens If I Forget to Replace My Air Filter, or Don’t Use One at All?
The role of an air filter is often misunderstood. It is not used to cleanse the air you breathe but rather to protect the sensitive components of your HVAC system. It’s important to note that there are high-efficiency filters that are designed to filter out small bacterial, mold, and fungal particles, but your standard MERV 8-11 filters will just block out larger particles of dust, dirt & hair.
Air filters typically aren’t designed to filter the air forever. Eventually, they will fill up with dust and dirt. Depending on your system, you should either change your filter or clean it. Paper filters are disposable, with cardboard frames and a paper screen. Sturdier filters are reusable, usually with metal frames, and can be cleaned according to manufacturer instructions.
If you don’t change your AC filter, it will begin to fail. It will no longer be able to filter the air properly, letting dust and contaminants get into the HVAC system. Dust jams the moving parts of an AC such as fan motors and valves. Airflow is restricted which creates a strain on the system. The HVAC system will draw more power to overcome the obstacle. This is how dust makes the unit less energy efficient (at best) and can lead to breakdowns.
The next effects to worry about are the other contaminants that enter a dirty system. The only type of filters that catch allergens and spores are HEPA or high-energy particulate air filters. These are made of a much finer mesh than other filters, and so can screen out tiny particles such as allergens, pollen, dander, and mold spores. They are categorized by MERV ratings 1 through 20. The higher the rating, the more effective it is at catching small particles. HEPA filters can give you better indoor air quality.
What is the Best Air Filter to Buy?
When it comes time to purchase new air filters for your HVAC system, you should take a few things into consideration. The most important is to figure out the correct size that you need. This can be done by looking at your existing filter size, or by looking at your equipment manual to determine the correct specs. HVAC filters are often located in a slot next to your furnace or air handler. However, some HVAC systems have filters inside the return air ducts scattered in multiple rooms throughout your home.
You should also choose the right filtration level for your home and system. Pleated filters are often better than not pleated, as they allow for more surface area to collect dust, pet hair, and other debris floating through the air.
Green Apple Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the New Jersey area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priorities. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC needs call us today toll-free at 888-611-7191