Are the return air vents in your house covered with dirt and dust? How about the rest of your house, for that matter? If so, you’re probably not cleaning or replacing your HVAC air filters often enough!
As a rule of thumb, you should replace or clean your filters at least twice a year and more often depending on your particular circumstances. It’s important because air filters are your system’s first line of defense against airborne particulates. In forced air systems, air coming from the interior of the home to the blower first passes through the air filter, which is designed to catch dust and debris and help clean the air before it cycles through the home again.
When filters become dirty or clogged, the efficiency of the system is reduced. Over time, dirty filters can even cause parts to wear out faster.
Remember to check your owner’s manual for the recommended filter type. A disposable filter is made of a fiber mesh inside a frame. You can find the size of the filter printed on the edge of the frame. There are several kinds to choose from; however, the pleated panel filters are usually much better at removing dust particles because there is more surface area to filter with.
When installing your air filters, make sure to follow instructions carefully regarding placement and orientation. Washable air filters should be washed and treated every month. If they go much longer than that, there’s a good chance that the air flow through your ducts will become restricted, reducing energy efficiency and putting a strain on your HVAC equipment.