Some people react to the subject of keeping home air filters clean with, “Air filters? What air filters? I didn’t buy any air filters!” But if your home is equipped with a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, then you have air filters. And these need to be cleaned regularly in order for your HVAC to function effectively.
The way an HVAC works is by drawing air from a room, pulling it over coils to heat or cool it, and then distributing the tempered air throughout the house via ducts. The air filter is located at the point where the air enters the HVAC. In addition to helping your HVAC run efficiently, other good reasons as to why you should keep the air filter clean are:
- An air filter traps air-born particles that get sucked in with the air and keeps them from blocking the blower and clogging up the coils.
- Filters also help to keep dust from building up in your ducts, or being blown into other rooms in your house.
- Many filters remove microscopic particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, plant and mold spores, and even smoke from the air in your home.
- A clogged and dirty filter can drive up your heating and cooling bills by forcing your HVAC to work continuously, and therefore harder, to pull in air.
So, how do you know when it’s time to change your air filter? Make sure to check it on a monthly basis, and change it anywhere from one to three months. You’ll also be able to tell when a filter is dirty by the gray, ashy-looking material covering it.