A clean furnace filter will improve the air quality in your house and keep the HVAC system running longer. However, there is one problem. A furnace filter gets dirty after some time, and you’ll need to change it.
The vital question then becomes, “How do you know it’s time to change the furnace filter?” The most accurate answer would be “it depends.” And it depends on different factors.
In this guide, we’ll delve deeper into these factors. We’ll also tell you more about the various sizes and options of furnace filters available.
Are There Pets in Your House?
If you have furry critters in your house, you have a reason to keep checking your furnace filter’s condition.
Cats and dogs shed the dander, dust, and fur, which settle in every part of your house, including the furnace filter. All this dirt will clog your filter after some time, reducing the efficiency of your heating system.
If this is your current situation, you should not wait for the annual maintenance date to change the filter. With pets in your house, you should consider replacing the filter after every 60 days. And the timeline should be shorter if you have multiple pets.
Something else to keep in mind is that the seasons could affect how you approach this matter. Pets are likely to shed more dander and fur in hotter months. So you could change the filter more often during summer and slow it down in winter.
However, the best way to know how often is by checking the filter first. If there’s no dirt, you have no reason to replace it.
Allergies and Respiratory Problems
The average American spends 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, unknown to many is that the concentration of pollutants in indoor spaces is 2 to 5 times more than outdoor areas.
As a result, we now have a higher number of people suffering from allergies and asthma.
Pet dander, dust mite, pollen, mold spores are among the common indoor pollutants that cause these problems.
But there’s a relief! If you have a clean air filter, the impact will be less because it will trap these pollutants.
If the filter is dirty and clogged, it will send the air contaminants back to your house, thus aggravating the allergy cases for people living in the house.
If there are people with respiratory diseases or allergies, you need to get the best furnace filters for allergies and change them often. To be on the safer side, consider changing the filter once every 30 days.
There are two ways you can save money by changing a furnace filter on time. One is avoiding costly breakdowns of the heating system, and the other is avoiding high energy bills.
A dirty filter affects the performance of your HVAC system. It’s hard to pull air through a clogged furnace filter, which causes excessive strain on your unit. In the end, the system will break down, and you’ll incur hefty repair expenses.
Keep in mind that the more your unit strains to get work done, the more it wears down. Continuous wear will end up reducing the lifespan of your unit, which will mean incurring costly replacement costs.
If you notice unusual energy consumption from your HVAC system, it could mean you need to change the filter immediately. A clean air filter can reduce your energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
So, you’ll be doing yourself and the furnace a favor when you change the filter.
Type of Furnace Filter
How long should a furnace filter serve you? While there’s no hard answer to this question, the type of filter you buy will be a determinant.
But there are many of them; how do you choose the best furnace filter?
First, you must consider the MERV rating (minimum efficiency report value), which is a measure of a filter’s effectiveness. Low-quality filters will have a low MERV rating, and the most effective and efficient filters will have a high MERV rating.
Let’s look at different types of filters available today.
If you intend to improve the indoor air quality, maybe you should consider staying away from fiberglass filters. They are thin and flat panels meant to trap air particles alone. Their primary role is to protect your unit, not to clean the air.
They have a MERV rating of 1 to 4 and trap less than 10% of pollutants in your house.
Polyester and Pleated filters
These filters are almost similar to fiberglass, but they have higher trapping capabilities. They trap about 45% of the air pollutants in your house.
The MERV rating of these filters ranges between 8 and 13.
Washable filters are not a favorite for many people. Apart from having a low MERV rating of between 1 and 4, they also demand costly maintenance.
Another key disadvantage is that they collect bacteria and fungus, which can easily spread throughout the house.
High-efficiency particulate air filters are the most effective since they can trap over 85% of all indoor pollutants.
Due to the high efficiency, you’ll find them mostly in “clean environments” such as hospitals.
Takeaway: When choosing a furnace, the highest MERV rating might not be the best for your home’s needs. An overly restrictive filter could easily cause a breakdown of your system.
The idea option is a filter that allows smooth airflow and still removes major indoor air contaminants.
A MERV rating of between 9 and 12 is ideal.
How to Find the Right Furnace Filter Size
To enjoy the benefits of a furnace filter, you need to know their different sizes. Your HVAC unit will only work well when you install a filter of the right size.
To determine the size of a filter, you need to consider the length, width, and depth. You can find these dimensions printed on the side of a filter.
The easiest way to know the right size of the replacement filter for your furnace is by checking the existing filter or its user manual. If none is available, consult an HVAC specialist.
Create a Furnace Filter Replacement Schedule Today?
After considering the above factors, the most straightforward answer would be to replace the filter after 60 days to 90 days.
However, every home is different, and that means that heating needs vary. The best idea is to regularly check your furnace filter to determine if you need to replace it. And before you buy a new furnace filter, make sure you know the right size.
Would you like to read more exciting topics about home heating systems? Keep reading our posts for more information.