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Checking, changing or cleaning your air filter once a month saves money and extends the life of your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.
Air filters prevent dust and allergens from clogging your HVAC system, but dirt still builds up in ducts and filters over time. If left unchecked, a dirty filter chokes airflow, forcing the system to work harder to push conditioned air through tight spaces. This results in higher energy bills and increased wear and tear—and could even result in system failure.
Air filters protect HVAC systems and collect loose dirt from the air. They go in duct system slots or in return grilles of central air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps.
The better a filter catches dirt, the faster it gets clogged and must be cleaned or replaced. Leaving a dirty air filter in place cuts a home’s air quality and reduces HVAC system airflow.
Although removing a clogged filter altogether relieves pressure on the system, the system can’t perform well without one. Unfiltered dust and grime accumulate on critical parts such as the evaporator coil, causing unnecessary wear.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends checking an air filter once a month and replacing it at least every three months. It’s critical to inspect and replace filters before heavy use in summer and winter.
If you have pets or smokers in the home, filters clog more quickly. Remodeling projects add more dirt than normal, so a filter working under these conditions may need to be changed more than every three months.
Turn your heating and cooling system off before checking your filter. Slide the filter out of your ductwork and look for layers of hair and dirt. Run a finger across the filter. If your finger comes away dirty or there’s a line left on the filter, it’s time for a change.
When replacing the filter, make sure the arrow on the filter—which indicates the direction of the airflow—points toward the blower motor.
To help schedule monthly checkups, write the date on the side of the filter so you know when it needs to be checked again. Once you’ve made the change, turn your system back on.
Shopping for a new filter? Before you leave home, write down the size printed on the side of your current filter or snap a photo with your phone. Once you find a filter that works well in your home, it’s a good idea to keep a spare or two on hand.
Posted: 4/22/2021 10:02:28 AM