Replacing HVAC Air Filters: A Critical, Ongoing Maintenance Task

Indoor air quality services

Performing regular HVAC air filter changes is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to keep the heater and air conditioner in your Puyallup, WA, home running smoothly. This essential, ongoing maintenance task will also protect and improve your indoor air quality (IAQ) and keep your energy bills in check. Thus, it is essential to establish the right filter change schedule and to change filters correctly.

What HVAC Air Filters Do

All new heaters and air conditioners come with standard air filters installed. These components capture and retain dust, hair, dander, and other particulates in incoming air. When your HVAC system draws air from the building interior, it not only heats or cools it but also leaves this air a bit cleaner. However, despite the obvious IAQ benefits that this basic level of filtration provides, HVAC air filters largely exist to protect heaters and air conditioners.

Without a functional filter, many of the allergens and contaminants that are floating in your indoor air would settle on and coat your HVAC system’s most sensitive components. For instance, poor filtration could leave your air conditioner’s evaporator coil covered in dust and unable to efficiently transfer heat. Dirty air filters and dirty evaporator coils lead to high levels of humidity, declined AC efficiency, overheating, and short cycling.

How Often Should You Change Your HVAC Air Filters?

With the health of heating and cooling equipment in mind, HVAC manufacturers recommend checking air filters once each month and changing them every 30 to 60 days as needed. If you run your air conditioner or heater non-stop, have indoor pets, or have an excessively dusty living environment, you might want to inspect your HVAC air filter every two to three weeks instead.

When build-ups of filter debris become too thick and heavy, airflow suffers, and heaters and air conditioners overwork. Airflow obstructions caused by filter debris can lead to both frequent repair issues and shorter equipment lifespans. One simple trick for determining whether or not your filter has collected all the debris it can manage is by holding it up to the overhead light. If an HVAC air filter is sufficiently clean for continued use, the light will shine through it.

Filter Changes Protect Your Equipment Warranties

If your heater or air conditioner is relatively new, performing filter changes is key to preserving its manufacturer’s warranty. Evidence of the failure to perform filter changes at reasonable intervals can result in claim delays and outright claim denials. It can also cause manufacturer warranties to be voided entirely.

When You Need to Change Your Air Filters More Often

In addition to indoor pets, non-stop HVAC system use, and generally low indoor air quality, there are several surprising factors that may make it necessary to change your HVAC air filter more often. Among these are:

  • Living near a busy freeway
  • Living in close proximity to an airport
  • Residents with chronic respiratory health issues
  • Active construction near your lot
  • Outdoor areas without landscaping

Increasing the frequency of filter changes is also a good idea during times of high pollen counts and times of heavy wildfire smoke.

Things to Remember When Changing HVAC Air Filters

If you’ve never replaced the filters in your current heater or air conditioner before, you can refer to your owner’s manuals, contact equipment manufacturers directly, or ask one of our technicians to walk you through this process during your next service visit. It’s important to make sure that your air filters are the correct type and size for your heating and cooling equipment and that they’re oriented correctly. Having an undersized filter or a filter that’s incorrectly installed can be just as bad for heaters and air conditioners as having no filter at all.

When to Stock Up on HVAC Air Filters

During peak heating and cooling seasons, many HVAC system issues are directly related to poor filter maintenance. Some homeowners forget to change their air filters for months on end. Others have a hard time finding replacement filters with the right specifications at local stores. When the weather in Western Washington is at its hottest and coldest, the filter aisles in home and hardware stores frequently run empty. To ensure that you always have enough of these components on hand, stock up on HVAC air filters before the outside temperature plummets or soars.

We’re proud to serve the residents of Puyallup and the surrounding area. We offer heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services. Our clients can also turn to us for top-notch ductwork design and installation. To schedule an appointment or to find out about our HVAC preventative maintenance plans, get in touch with Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning today.