Changing your air conditioning system’s air filter is a maintenance task that is easily forgotten. Though, this quick fix is an important part of keeping your system running smoothly and should be done regularly – every three months or at the beginning of each season. Whether your filter is a true pleated (collapsible) style or a self-contained cardboard framed filter, replacing it can usually be done in less than 20 minutes and extend the life of your system, improve comfort, and increase efficiency. In the case that your thermostat doesn’t have a filter display alert option, simply set up a reminder in your smartphone or computer calendar with what filter to buy every 90 days or so.
With all the talk about air pollution and global climate change, it’s often forgotten that the United States Environmental Protection Agency identifies one of the top five environmental health risks as Indoor air pollution. Regularly replacing your air filter helps to lower this risk by reducing, or even eliminating indoor air pollutants. These include pollen, dust, dander, smoke, pesticides and cleaning products, and even particles and gas generated from cooking stoves.
As we near the transition from summer to fall, consider these few things when maintaining your system:
- Looks Can Be Deceiving – Upon initial inspection of your filter, you may notice that it appears to be clean. Although the outside may look this way, there could be dust and dirt particles lodged on the inside. Leaving a filter in for too long can decrease efficiency and even harm the system. A quick inspection of the inside, as well as a comparison of your current filter to a new one could help in making the decision whether a replacement is necessary or not.
- 20 Minutes or Less – Changing your home air filter is not a daunting task. By following the instructions that came with the system itself, or the ones usually provided with the replacement filter, replacing the filter shouldn’t take any more than 20 minutes. However, if you find that the task becomes too complicated, call your local contractor for assistance.
- Great Performance – Keeping blower motors and other components clean is important to ensure that air can move through the heat exchangers. A good, clean air filter can remove much of the dust and dirt from the air-conditioned space, as well as those components, thus maintaining great performance and extended the life of the system.
- When to Call a Professional – Even if you are changing the filter regularly, if it comes out appearing extremely dirty, cleaner than expected, or has insects or mold visible, have the system inspected by a contractor. Also, if particles are visibly being released from indoor registers, we would recommend calling a contractor for inspection.
Here’s a quick look at a pleated air filter replacement.
For a more detailed look, check out the following step-by-step video on home air filter replacement.