Your HVAC system works hard every day to keep you cozy in the winter and cool in the summer. A clean filter is mandatory in order for it to work properly and efficiently. Many people don’t realize that changing the furnace filter during the summer is equally as important as changing the filter during the winter. The furnace fan distributes heating all winter and also pushes cool air through your home during the summer. If the furnace filter is dirty, your furnace fan will need to work harder, be less effective and use more energy. During the winter, a dirty filter can eventually prevent your furnace from producing heat. During the summer, a dirty furnace filter will prevent proper air flow which in turn causes your air conditioner to freeze up and stop working.
The good news is, keeping on top of filter changes is easy to do and will make a world of difference in the heating and cooling of your home.
Read on to discover more about furnace filters and how often you need to replace them.
What Are HVAC Filters and How Do They Work?
There are different types of furnace filters. Some are made from spun fibreglass (very much like the fibreglass insulation you might find in an attic), while others are made from pleated paper in a cardboard frame and others even have UV lights. The filters slide into a special frame which is near your furnace and the filter acts as protection for your furnace components. The more advanced 5″ filters can also clean the air by filtering out contaminants such as dust, pet hair, lint, mould and bacteria.
At Metro Air Limited, we are fully versed on the best air quality solutions for your home and would be happy to answer your questions to help you choose the best filter for your home.
How Often Should I Change My Air Filters?
If your furnace has a 1″ filter rack, you should change the filter at least every 2 months. If there are pets in the home, changing every month is recommended. If your furnace has a 4″-5″ filter rack, you should change the filter at least once a year. If there are pets in the home or activities occur that create a lot of dust or, the home occupants have severe allergies, then changing the filter twice a year is recommended.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Your furnace fan also services your air conditioner so your furnace filter needs to be changed 12 months of the year, not just in the winter.
Type of Air Filter Matters!
Some furnaces have a filter rack that holds a 1″ thick filter. This width is sufficient to protect your furnace. It is recommended to use a very basic 1″ filter. Although it is tempting to use a more expensive1″ filter that claims to also clean the air, it is not recommended because it could have a very negative affect on your furnace life, operation and longevity. This is because, a filter that is dense enough to filter small particles, is also so dense it doesn’t allow proper air flow. A dense filter is much like having a dirty filter because it blocks most of the air that the furnace and air conditioner require in order to work properly.
If you would like to clean the air with better filtration, you would need to upgrade the 1″ filter rack to a filter rack that can hold a 5″ pleated filter. A 5″ pleated filter still provides enough air flow while filtering contaminants out of the air.
Be sure to consult with a professional technician (such as one from Metro Air Limited to determine if a thicker air filter makes sense for you and your home.
Consult a Professional for Best Results
These are only general guidelines, of course. If you notice that your system is becoming less efficient or that your indoor air quality starts to degrade, it may very well be time to change your filter. Sometimes when you look at the filter it appears to be clean but it is best to stick with a set schedule. If you need advice on whether it’s time to change your filter, we’d be delighted to help advise you. Please give us a call.
The best time to ask a technician about your air filter, however, is during your annual preventative maintenance visit. A professional HVAC tune-up should be scheduled at least once a year to keep your system operating efficiently. During the tune-up, your technician will be able to help you create an ideal filter change schedule and make recommendations for the type, size, and style of filter as well! Here at Metro Air Limited, we can help you with your air filter replacement and ensure that your filter is replaced on a schedule that suits your specific needs.
Need more information? Our team serves Brampton and the surrounding area and is more than glad to assist you with your HVAC system filter needs. Contact Metro Air Limited today!