Occassionally we’re asked what is the most important thing that San Antonio area homeowner’s can do to secure their air conditioning and heating system between their scheduled tune-ups? It’s a simple question with a simple answer; remember to change the heating and air conditioning air filter. Replacing furnace and return air filters is extremely important to the proper performance of your HVAC system, not to mention your home’s air quality. Research suggests that indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental health risks? We know it’s the last thing on your mind, but this is really important stuff. Changing the air filters is not a tough thing to do for most San Antonio homeowners, but there are often two hurdles to actually accomplishing this task:
Most filters have a timeline printed on the packaging. It may say “Lasts up to 3 months” or “Change filter every 90 days”. Look around at the store and you’ll notice that some are meant to only last a single month, while other manufacturers (like Honeywell) have produced media air cleaners with filters meant to be swapped 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 tell our readers to go by. If it’s dirty, change it! A dirty air filter can contribute or cause damage to expensive parts, like your compressor, so it’s better to change it out more often than neglect it. If you want to stick to the manufacturer’s recommended limit, we suggest writing the date on the filter when you swap it out, and adding a reminder for yourself in your phone or on a calendar. Also be aware that your filter manufacturer may have a different recommendation from your HVAC system manufacturer.
Figuring out how often to change your air filters can depend on several factors:
For the common 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturers basically tell you to change them every 1 or 2 months, which is in fact a great rule of thumb. However, general guidelines are not applicable to all. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you may need to upgrade the air filter or change them even more frequently than OEM specifications. On the other hand, if you’re in a less populated area, own a less occupied home (like a vacation home) or an area where there are fewer cars around, annual replacement of your air filter 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. Obviously, the air filter is just doing its job by trapping pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause seriously reduced HVAC performance.
It’s simple; 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. In addition, your email subscription preferences let’s you set a reminder to change your San Antonio area home’s air filter every 30, 60, 90, 120 or 365 days, or the date of your choosing.
Most of us know how to replace the air filter in their system, but some homes have an additional filter in the return vent. Whether you have one or not is dependent on what your unit’s manufacturer recommends. Your system is designed to handle a certain amount of pressure in your house, and the more filters you have the more the blower motor works, which can shorten the life of your system if it isn’t designed for it. Finding out whether you have a return filter and replacing it is easy:
Amazing as it may seem, filters can dramatically affect your home’s airflow, which is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer. A higher quality HEPA filter that is designed to catch finer particles will reduce airflow more than a cheaper filter. With restricted airflow comes greater pressure on your system, so you ought to verify that your HVAC system was built to handle it. Otherwise, you may experience reduced heating and cooling efficiency in your home, and system parts may wear out much faster than the standard.
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