The cooling experts at Richmond’s Air answer questions about the whys and hows of changing your air filter
Regardless of if you have a heat pump or central air system, when you live in Houston, you undoubtedly use your air-cooling system a lot. But how often do you actually change your air filter? If the answer is never or sometimes, you’ve got some changes to make. Not changing your air filter is like not brushing your teeth; you may get away with it for a while, but eventually you’re going to have problems.
What Kind of Problems Will I Have If I Don’t Change My Air Filter?
There are three big problems you’ll face by not changing your air filter:
- Dirtier house, dirtier air. Air filters pull dust, allergens and pollutants from your home. Changing your air filter means that your home’s air will be healthier to breathe, and your house should be less dusty.
- Higher energy costs. When your air handling system has to force air through a dirty filter, it has to work harder, which means more energy used and more money spent by you. Dirty filters can make your heat pump or central air system 10% less efficient, according to HVAC experts.
- Potential breakdowns: If you don’t change your air filter regularly and haven’t had to call a repairman yet, consider yourself lucky. Dirty filters can impair the functioning of your central air or heat pump so much that it can cause operating problems.
As you can see, changing your air filter regularly is important! If you’re not yet convinced, learn more about why changing your air filter matters.
How Often Should I Change My Air Filter?
If you’re using your air conditioner occasionally, you may be able to get away with changing your air filter every six weeks to three months. But when your air is running a lot, you should change your air filter at least every month, if not more often. The good news is that changing an air filter is super easy.
And How Do I Change the Filter?
All you need to do is locate the filter on your system, which is usually located on the return air duct of your system (that’s the big vent that’s usually on the wall or ceiling). When you open the return duct, you’ll see a filter nestled in a cardboard frame. If the filter looks dirty, you need to replace it.
The size you’ll need to buy is located on the edge of the frame. It will be a three dimensional measurement, such as 20″x20″x1″. Make sure that you write down that number (or just take a picture with your phone). You may think that it will be easy to remember the measurement, but when you’re standing in the store with thirty different sized filters, you’re bound to get confused.
Where Do I Find an Air Filter?
You can pick an air filter (or better yet, a pack of air filters) at your local home improvement store. If such places aren’t your scene, there’s a good chance you can find the right filter size at Target, or you can always buy one off of Amazon. Wherever you purchase your filter from, make sure that you’re purchasing one that can remove dust and pollutants from your home. It should have a MERV rating of between 8 and 13.
Once you’ve changed your air filter, set a reminder on your phone to remind you to check it again in a month, or purchase a smart thermostat that will remind you, all while helping you save energy.
If you feel completely clueless about your air conditioner or heat pump and you’ve realized that you might need some help, don’t hesitate to call Richmond’s Air, where we service cooling systems in Houston and the surrounding areas of Spring, Katy and Perry. We can provide your air cooling system with some much needed routine maintenance and help you learn ways to keep your air conditioner running smoothly for years to come.