Freshening the Air You Breathe

air-filter_IYR3W_69As the weather is warming up your air conditioner will be working harder. Do you know how often you should change your air filters?

How often to change your air filters can depend on several factors:

*  the type of air filter you are using
*  the overall air quality of your home
*  pets, pets, pets..
*  occupancy of the home, and
*  the level of air pollution and construction around the home

For your standard 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturers basically tell you to change them every 30-60 days, which is actually a great rule of thumb. But general rules aren’t always for everybody. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them even more often. Or, if you’re in a more remote area, less occupied home (like a vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter quick and with great success. Of course the air filter is just doing its job by capturing pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause extremely weak HVAC performance.  Here’s the points summarized:

  • Vacation home or single occupant w/o pets or allergies: 6-12 months
  • “Average” suburban home w/o pets: every 90 days
  • Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
  • Add more than one pet or have allergies: 30-45 days

Don’t forget to remind yourself to change the filters!  You can easily mark the date on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone calendar to ensure that this is not forgotten.  There are also air conditioning / heating companies in the local area that can send you an email reminder.

It is also important to have your system serviced by a licensed AC contractor at the beginning of each cooling and heating season.  It is a good idea to install an inline HEPA filter.  These filters remove 99.9% of air borne particles.  This means that they remove not just dust but also pollen,  VOCs and other harmful pollutants that exist in all homes.  Also, HEPA filters typically only need to be cleaned twice a year and should be a part of your regular service agreement.  A little bit of home maintenance will help you stay cool all summer long.

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