When you purchase filters for your home’s HVAC system, you’ll generally be able to find basic information on how often they should be changed, whether on their packaging, online or elsewhere. Most filters need to be changed somewhere in the range of once every month or two, though there might be certain types that vary from this.
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, however, our HVAC and indoor air quality professionals can tell you from experience that there are plenty of situations where you may have to diverge somewhat from the stated filter replacement guidelines. Said guidelines don’t really account for several circumstances where filters may fill up faster than usual – let’s look at several of these and identify situations where changing your filters more often is the best bet.
Have you been performing any recent renovations or construction projects in or around your house? These projects almost always come with large quantities of dust and general dirt, and much of this ends up in your furnace filter after being picked up by basic air flow.
If you’ve recently done such a project or are preparing to, take some extra care with your filters. One good visual clue here is the spaces near your vents and registers – if you notice dust building up here, it’s a clear sign that levels are higher than usual and you should change your filters more often.
Another group of homeowners that should take special care with filters is those who own pets, particularly shedding animals like cats and dogs. Their hair will be caught by filters, and it will clog them up much faster than usual. On top of brushing your pets often and performing basic cleaning tasks like sweeping and vacuuming, take care in this area.
You should also check your ducts regularly for leaks, as these can allow in many particles that will clog the filter quickly. Particularly if your leaks open the ducts up to air from the attic, this air could contain many more contaminants than other air.
Most thermostats have two fan settings: ON and AUTO. The former means the fan will run at all times, regardless of whether the HVAC system is actively heating or cooling the home, while the latter means the fan will only come on in coordination with the HVAC system.
In general, your thermostat should be set to AUTO most of the time. If you leave yours ON for longer periods, however, whether to rotate air or for another purpose, this will increase the amount of air that passes through the filter and require changing more often.
Finally, you might simply be using the wrong filter if you find you have to change yours too often. Filters are defined in large part by their MERV rating, which lays out how fine a degree of particle they can capture – and while it’s great to get a high-MERV filter, there’s such thing as taking this too far and installing filters that will pick up too much, therefore clogging faster.
For more on common reasons why you might need to change furnace filters more often than recommended, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.