Maintaining a healthy indoor environment involves removing harmful contaminants from the air. Knowing how often to replace an air filter can prevent dust, dirt, pollen, and other pollutants from making their way into a home or building. When these pollutants build up, they can cause a wide range of ailments. An air filter is designed to remove contaminants from the air so that you and your family or customers can breathe easier.
Because an HVAC system does most of the work to keep the air quality in a home or building healthy, the system does require some degree of maintenance. One of the most important tasks that business owners or homeowners can do to improve indoor air quality is to routinely change the HVAC air filter. How often should a filter be changed? This depends on many factors.
How often you change your HVAC air filter is dependent on a number of factors, such as the location of the unit, the type of filter used, and various environmental factors. On average, a residential pleated or standard disposal air filter should be checked and changed as needed or about every three months. If the home is more susceptible than average to pollutants like pet hair, tobacco smoke, and heavy foot traffic in the home, an air filter may need to be changed much more frequently.
The location of the HVAC unit will also impact how often the air filter will need to be changed. If the unit is in a clean closet or utility room, it may not need to be changed as often as an HVAC unit that is installed in a dusty basement. Outdoor units can also collect dirt and dust quickly, especially if the unit is in a location where there is a lot of wind that picks up dirt and dust in the air. When an HVAC air filter is checked on a regular basis, you can start to see a pattern of how quickly it gets dirty and how often it will need to be changed.
Type of Filter Used
How often you need to change an air filter is also dependent on the type of filter used. Fiberglass air filters are the most popular as they are inexpensive, disposable and work well to protect an HVAC system from dust and other pollutants in the air. However, these filters may not be sufficient in homes and buildings where there are people with existing respiratory conditions. Electrostatic air filters use electrostatic power to create a magnet-like charge that attracts airborne particles. For those with allergies and other respiratory conditions, a HEPA air filter is an excellent option. HEPA filters have been found to filter out up to 99.97 percent of contaminants. There are also UV filters that use ultraviolet lights to kill viruses and bacteria in the air.
Various environmental factors can influence how dirty an HVAC air filter gets and how often it needs to be cleaned or replaced. First, consider how many pets are in the household. Homes with one or more pets often require more frequent air filter replacements due to the amount of hair and pet dander that can spread through the air. Also, consider if anyone in the home or building smokes. Air filters get dirty much more quickly in homes where there is cigarette smoke. You will also want to think about the overall air quality in the area. Are there any factories nearby or is the home located on a busy street with lots of cars that go by each day? If so, then the air filter may need to be replaced more frequently.
When dirt, dust, and other pollutants build up on an HVAC air filter, the indoor air quality can suffer. In addition, the HVAC equipment will be forced to work harder which can cause energy bills to skyrocket. If the air filter is not cleaned or replaced for an extended period of time, the HVAC equipment can actually break down and simply stop working. Even if the equipment does not break down, failure to clean the air filters can certainly shorten the life of the equipment. You can minimize the risk of clogged air filters by making sure that you change them on a regular basis. Have a supply of replacement air filters on hand at all times and mark your calendar for replacement dates.
Contact the Commercial HVAC Experts
As every home and building is different and experiences varying levels of pollutants based on location and environmental factors, it is important to check HVAC air filters on a regular basis. Start by checking the air filter every 30 days and determine from there if you need to check more often or less often based on the condition of the filter. For more information or to schedule HVAC service, contact the heating and cooling specialists at Cool Works Co.