Occassionally we’re asked what is the most important thing that Clearwater area homeowner’s can do to secure their air conditioning and heating system between their regular tune-ups? It’s a simple question with a simple answer; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Replacing furnace and return air filters is extremely important to the proper performance of your HVAC system, not to mention your home’s air quality. Did you know indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks? We know it’s the last thing on your mind, but this is really important stuff. Changing the air filters is not all that hard for most Clearwater homeowners, but there are typically two challenges to actually accomplishing this task:
Most filters have a printed “expiration” date on the box or plastic. It may read “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Look around at the store and you’ll notice that some are meant to only last a month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have created media air cleaners with filters meant to be swapped once every 6-12 months. The standard seems to be once every 3 months for most higher quality filters, but we have a rule of thumb that we tell our customers to go by. If the filter is dirty, change it! A dirty air filter can contribute or cause damage to pricey parts, like your compressor, so it’s better to change it out more often than neglect it. If you want to stick to the manufacturer’s recommended limit, we suggest writing the date on the filter when you swap it out, and setting a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Keep in mind that your filter manufacturer may have a different recommendation from your HVAC system manufacturer.
Figuring out how often to change your air filters can depend on several factors:
For your standard 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturer specs basically tell you to change them every 30-60 days, which is really a great rule of thumb. However, general rules aren’t always for everybody. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you might require an upgraded air filter or change them even more frequently than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a less populated area, own a less occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area where there are fewer cars around, annual replacement of your air filter may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter fast. Obviously, the air filter is just doing its job by containing pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause seriously reduced HVAC performance.
Midway Services offers a simple solution; sign up for the Service Experts Email Club. This is a great to receive discounts on service, tips and other helpful information directly to your email. In addition, your email subscription preferences let’s you set a reminder to change your Clearwater area home’s air filter every 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 days, or the date of your choosing.
Most of us know how to replace the air filter in their system, but some homes have another filter in the return ducts. Whether you have one or not is dependent on which HVAC system you have. Your system is designed to handle a certain amount of pressure in your home, and the more filters you have the fiercer the blower motor works, which can shorten the life expectancy of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Discovering whether you have a return filter and replacing it is simple:
Crazy as it may seem, filters can dramatically affect your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend checking in with the manufacturer. A higher quality HEPA filter that is designed to catch finer debris will restrict airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes increased pressure on your system, so you should verify that your HVAC system was engineered to handle it. Otherwise, you may experience reduced heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and system parts may wear out much faster than normal.
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