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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Air

How Often Do You Change Your Air Filters?

With COVID numbers on the rise keeping us homebound, NOW is the time to make sure you have your heating, filters and humidifier systems checked. Any AC concerns may still be addressed as long as the outdoor temperatures allow. If you are now working from home and/or have children home all day adds a whole new dimension and more reason why a clean running system is so important!

Have you changed or cleaned your air filter(s)? The BIG question is: How Often Do You REALLY Need to Change or Clean Your Air Filter?

We suggest a Minimum of Every 30 Days! The more dirt, dust and allergens collected in your filter; the more your air flow and air quality diminish, affects your system’s ability to maintain temperature and efficiency which impacts your utility bills and you risk overheating/damaging your system causing failures and potential costly repairs.

Changing your air filter is really not determined by time but by usage. This means how often your heat or ac is cycling to maintain temperature determines how fast your filter becomes dirty. For example, your heat will probably cycle much more often on a 30 degree day as opposed to a 60 degree day. There are other factors that contribute to how often we need filter changes. Pets, Cooking, Burning Candles or Wood, Smoking, Dryer Lint, house Repairs/Remodeling/Updates and even Shuffling Paper is just a few of what can add debris into the air.

Let’s be honest. The easiest way to remember when to change your air filter is time. So the “rule of thumb” is to replace your one inch (1”) thick air filter every thirty (30) days.

How to Tell When You Need to Change Your System Air Filter

All of the air that circulates through your HVAC system to either heat or cool your home will eventually pass through your system’s air filter. This is why it is so VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR AIR FILTERS CLEAN!

A Dirty and/or Clogged air filter Can or Will:

  • Cause long term HVAC system malfunctions and equipment damage.

  • Reduce airflow causing your HVAC system fan(s) to work harder or overheat and wear out faster.

  • NOT remove particulates and contaminants as effectively as they should, therefore releasing these back into your indoor air (the air that you and your family breath).

  • Cause contaminates to build up in your duct work.

  • Cause your HVAC to constantly cycle on and off in attempt to maintain temperature, increasing your home’s energy usage and your monthly utility bills.

Air filters should be checked/replaced, at least, once a month and more often during severe outdoor temperatures. The most important thing to remember is to make sure your indoor HVAC blower is not running before removing your air filter and/or installing a new air filter into your system. Check out our video on our website to give you a demonstration of how to locate and change your filter.

A discolored air filter is only one indication that your filter needs to be changed or cleaned. Since air filters absorb debris to the inside of the filter, you can’t always tell how dirty your filter really is by looking at the surface as debris can be the same color as the filter membrane or very close to it. If you want to know how dirty your air filter is, just hold your air filter up to a light source to see if you can see shadows or dark spots which indicates your air filter is dirty or clogged. If you are not sure, take a new air filter and hold it up to the light source and compare. This step can be a better determination of how dirty or clogged your air filter really is. If you can’t see light through the filter, change your air filter immediately! Be prepared to change your air filter again within the next week to two weeks since a very dirty air filter will leave debris in your duct impacting the new air filter immediately when your system or blower runs. When an air filter is dirty enough to restrict air flow, some systems will steal air from anywhere it can bypassing the air filter and allowing debris directly into your system and back into your home. Build up in your system can cause mechanical failures and possibly carbon monoxide in gas systems.

Contact us on our website or phone our office today to schedule your HVAC Checkup.


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