An annual maintenance tune-up can go a long way to helping your HVAC system last longer and run at its most efficient all year-round. However, there are a few steps you can do yourself to make sure your system stays operating at its peak between maintenance services. But perhaps no step is easier than simply changing your air filter. Your air filter is a small and inexpensive but vitally important part of both your heater and your air conditioner, but it must be changed periodically.

When Should I Change My Filter?

How often you should change your filter depends on a few factors, including the amount of use your system gets, your home’s air quality requirements, and the air quality outside your home. Generally, most manufacturer specifications will say that you should change your air filter every two to three months, however this number can increase or decrease for numerous reasons. These “aggravating factors” will make you need to change your filter more frequently to keep your home happy, healthy, and comfortable.

  • Heavy system use: If you don’t run your system regularly, or you only run it for a few hours a day, then you can away with going three to four months between changes.
  • Pets: If you have a pet, you will need to change your filter more frequently. This is particularly true for pets that shed a lot of hair or put pet dander into the air, such as dogs or cats. If you have one of these pets, you should at least check your filter’s condition every two months, and perhaps even more often if you have multiple pets.
  • Outdoor air quality: If the air outside your home is particularly low-quality, the air coming into your home will contain dust, pollen, pathogens, mold spores, and other microscopic allergens that can contribute to lower-quality air. Lower-quality outdoor air will clog up an air filter faster than higher-quality air. If you live in a poor to moderate air quality area, you should check your filter at the bare minimum every two months, and more frequently if you have pets.
  • Allergy sensitivity: If you, like millions of other Americans, are particularly allergy-sensitive or suffer from asthma, your air filter is vital to your comfort and ability to breathe in your home. Check your filter every month and replace it as soon as it appears to be dirty. You may also want to consider a higher-grade filter that will remove more particles from the air.
  • Large household: If you live alone, you’ll likely release fewer contaminants into the air. If you have a full family or a house full of roommates, your air filter is going to clog up much faster. If you have a family of four, you should at least check your air filter every two to three months. You can probably delay this a little longer if you live alone or with just one other person.

If you have two or more of these aggravating factors in your home, (i.e. a large family and poor outdoor air quality or pets and allergy sensitivity) you should definitely check your filter more frequently than someone who does not. If none of these factors affect you, you most likely can get away with up to six months between changing your filter. If you face many of these issues, you might want to consider replacing your filter every month, particularly if you used your heating or air conditioning system a lot during that month.

If you need an air conditioning or heating tune-up call the Raleigh HVAC experts at R & S Mechanical! We recognize how important a clean and efficient home climate control system can be, and we strive to help you save money by providing exceptional workmanship at outstanding prices to residents all across the area. Scheduling a maintenance service twice a year can help you save as much as $450 per year, and our friendly and highly-trained technicians can perform this maintenance for you to keep your home running smoothly.

Schedule your maintenance service today! Call R & S Mechanical at 919-302-8956 or contact us online and check out our other great service specials we offer!