Occassionally we’re asked what is the most important thing that Cocoa area homeowner's can do to secure their air conditioning and heating system between their scheduled tune-ups? The answer is simple this; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Changing furnace and return air filters is crucial to the ideal operation of your HVAC system, as well as your home's air quality. Studies show that indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks? You probably don’t consider it as you sit and watch TV, but this is the air you breathe day and night. Changing the air filters is not a tough thing to do for most Cocoa homeowners, but there are typically two obstacles to actually getting it done:
- Understanding just how often to replace your furnace or air conditioner filter.
- Remembering to change air filters when needed.
When To Change Your Air Filters
Most filters have a printed "expiration" date on the box or plastic. It may instruct "Lasts up to 3 months" or "Change filter every 90 days". Check out the filters at the store and you should see that some are designed to only last a month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have produced media air cleaners with filters meant to be changed 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 recommend our friends and family to go by. If it's dirty, change it! A dirty air filter can add or cause damage to expensive components, like your compressor, so it's recommended to change it out more often than neglect it. If you want to stick to the manufacturer's recommended limit, we suggest scribbling the date on the filter when you swap it out, and programming 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 equipment manufacturer.
Deciding how often to change your air filters hinges on several factors:
- The type of air filter you are using
- The overall air quality of your Cocoa area home
- Pets – Cats, dogs, birds, etc.
- Number of occupants in the house
- The level of air pollution and construction around the home
For your typical 1"-3" air filters, the OEM specs basically suggest to change them every 1 or 2 months, which is really a great rule of thumb. But general rules aren't always for everybody. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you may need to upgrade the air filter or change them even more regularly than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you're in a low population area, own a infrequently occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area with little auto traffic, changing your air filter every 12-months may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter in no time, just like a vacuum. Clearly, the air filter is just doing its job by containing pet hair and dander, but exceptionally dirty filters can cause diminished HVAC performance.
- Seldom used home or single occupant homes without pets or allergies: Change 6-12 months
- Typical suburban home without pets: Change every 90 days
- Add a dog or cat: Change every 60 days
- Multiple pets or have allergies: Change every 30-45 days
How To Remember To Change Your Air Conditioner's Air Filters
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning offers a simple solution; sign up for the Service Experts Email Club. This is a convenient way to get money-saving discounts and other helpful information on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. Also, your email subscription preferences let’s you set a reminder to change your Cocoa area home's air filter every 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 days, or the date of your choosing.
How to replace your return air filter
Most people know how to replace the air filter in their equipment, but some homes have an extra filter in the return ducts. Whether you have one or not is dependent on the HVAC manufacturer's recommendation. Your system is designed to handle a set amount of pressure in your home, and the more filters you have the more the blower motor works, which can shorten the lifespan of your system if it isn't designed for it. Finding out whether you have a return filter and replacing it is simple:
- Locate your return air vents.
- Some covers have screws and some have tabs. Unscrew or pull tabs to pull off the wall.
- Look for a filter. If one is there, pull it out and record the size.
- Verify the filter type is the one recommended by the manufacturer.
- If filter is dirty, replace with the manufacturer's recommended filter of the same size and type.
Amazing as it may seem, filters can greatly alter your home's airflow, which is why we recommend checking in with the manufacturer. A top tier HEPA filter that is designed to catch finer dust will reduce airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes more pressure on your system, so you ought to verify that your HVAC system was made to handle it. Otherwise, you might experience lowered heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and system parts may break down much faster than normal.