Category: Energy Savings
If you have central air in your home, hopefully you know it also has an air filter and that you know that you need to change your air filter. You should check you air filter every month and will probably need to replace it at least every 3 months depending on how much the system is running. During the cold of the winter months when the heater is running a lot, you will probably need to replace it more often. During mild months when the system might not be running at all, you can typically go longer before needing to replace the filter.
Recommendations to change your air filter that frequently can sometimes lead to the theory that this is all a fabrication of the filter manufactures that are trying to take over the world. Well unfortunately we just can’t support that theory. The air filter is a critical part of your HVAC system. It removes dirt and debris and allows the system to work at maximum efficiency. The entire system is relying on air flowing freely throughout the home. If you have a dirty and clogged filter that efficiency is going to decrease dramatically. As the filter becomes dirty, less air can flow through it. That causes your HVAC unit to have to run longer which wastes energy, resulting in higher bills. Think of it this way. Take a large straw and blow into one end of it with your hand at the other end. You should feel a nice flow of air coming out. Now stuff the straw with cotton and try blowing again. You will need to blow a lot harder and only a fraction of the air will actually come out the other end. This is what you are doing to your HVAC system when you use a dirty filter.
Fine, problem solved, I just won’t use a filter – that will teach them. Not a good idea. A dirty filter is actually a good thing in a way. If the filter had not captured the dirt, where do you think it would have gone? That would be coming out of your ductwork and into the air you breath or worse would lessen the life of your system because it would clog up the motor and internal workings of the HVAC system.
Changing the filter is typically something that any homeowner can do. For most systems, the filter is located on the right side of the HVAC system (the air return side). Check the size you need by looking at the numbers on the current filter and purchase a new filter that match those number exactly. Almost all home improvement centers will have replacement filters available. Once you have the new filter, slide the old one out, taking note of the airflow direction (usually an arrow on the top of the filter). Slide the new filter in and you are done. If you are not sure where your filter is located or have any other questions, contact a licensed professional HVAC service person. They will be able to check you system and show you how and where to replace the filters.
To learn more about other helpful cost saving tips visit the climate change section of this web site.