With the heat of summer giving way to autumn’s milder temperatures, it’s time to get around to all the little tasks you’ve been putting off. One of these is changing the filters in your HVAC system. For such a quick and seemingly minor task, there’s more involved than you might think — and Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning has some tips to help you do it better.
Why Change Your Filter?
Besides installing new HVAC systems, Ace Plumbing helps California homeowners with HVAC repairs and maintenance. One thing we notice is that many of you don’t change your filters nearly often enough. That’s bad news for your system, but it’s not good for you either. The contaminants those filters remove from the air, including allergens, dust, pet dander, mold, and mildew, don’t just cause your heating and air conditioning to be more problem-prone; they can lead to respiratory illnesses, too.
Picking the Right Filter
There are multiple types of filters, each of which is made differently and has its own benefits.
- Fiberglass filters are very common because they’re disposable and cheap. They’re also not the most effective tool for the job, since they may not filter as effectively and may also need to be changed more often.
- Electrostatic filters have a mild static charge that attracts contaminants. These can be washed instead of changed, but check the manufacturers’ guidelines, since they’re not quite permanent.
- Pleated filters’ pleats increase their surface area for more effective filtration. Some are disposable, while others are semi-permanent.
- HEPA filters offer excellent filtration, but this often comes at the expense of air flow. If your system doesn’t already use HEPA filtration, talk to us — these filters can cause damage if they’re installed on a unit for which they weren’t intended.
- Activated carbon filters offer odor reduction on top of the standard filtration features listed above. If you smoke, own pets, or do a lot of cooking, activated carbon filters can be good for deodorizing the air.
Just because a filter fits doesn’t mean it’s the right size. If you have to force it in, or if it slides in easily but leaves room between the filter frame and the housing, it won’t do its job properly. In the former instance, the filter might impede airflow. In the latter case, air can get around the filter instead of going through it, which is only marginally better than having no filter at all.
How Often Should You Change or Clean Your Filter?
At a minimum, your filter should be changed or cleaned about every three months. However, if you own pets, or are a smoker, or you tend to keep the windows open, you may need to service the filter more often. A visual inspection can help (you should see filter material even if there’s a coating of dust). You can also jot it down, set a reminder on your phone, or just make a habit of checking the filter when you pay your utility bill. And if you need help with HVAC services in Sacramento, contact Ace Plumbing for installations, repairs, and HVAC tune-ups today.