We’re all living busy lives. As the seasons change, a furnace filter is very easy to forget about entirely. Should that happen, you will have a dirty filter that gradually impedes air flow. This situation reduces performance and can lead to breakdowns. If you find yourself wondering “How often should you change a furnace filter?” the experts at Oliver Heating & Cooling are here to help.
A few factors determine when it’s time to replace your furnace filter. The filter already in your system might say on its edge the recommended changing schedule. That information, when present, is useful, but you should still consider all of the variables.
How to Check Your Furnace Filter
You may not need any tools to evaluate your furnace filter. Even so, you should be prepared with a screwdriver and flashlight.
- Look for the compartment near your furnace where the filter slides into the duct leading into the furnace.
- You may need a screwdriver to remove a cover plate.
- Slide out the old filter.
- Examine it for dirtiness. Filters usually start out white. A dark and soiled filter needs to be changed immediately.
- Now look at the width of the filter because size determines replacement frequency. Thicker filters have a greater capacity to catch particles before needing to be replaced.
- A 1 to 2-inch filter should be changed every 30 days.
- A 3 to 4-inch filter should be changed every 9-12 months.
- If you have an electronic or specialty filter see the manufacturer fir their recommendations on how and when to service..
- With this information in mind, determine how the following issues impact your furnace filter.
- The number of people in the home affects useful filter life. More people stir up more dust and introduce more contaminants into the indoor air. Therefore, you should accelerate the filter replacement schedule for a full house.
- Pets spread fur and dander that builds up in a filter. If you have pets, you should cut 30 days off of the replacement recommendations based on size.
- A household member with bad allergies will need more frequent filter changes. This will help to improve indoor air quality.
- Lastly, you should take into account how often the furnace is running. A very cold winter with high heating demands means that the filter gets dirty faster. On the other hand, a mild winter will allow a filter to last longer.
- Construction in the home can also require checking the filter more often than usual.
Still Not Sure How Often You Should Change a Furnace Filter?
A professional furnace tune-up by an HVAC technician from Oliver will provide clear answers. We’ll also install a new filter during your appointment. We can provide recommendations on how often you should put in a new one based on our inspection. Any parts of your furnace that require maintenance will get fixed at this time as well. This will promote safe and efficient heating throughout the season.
What Happens If I Don’t Change the Furnace Filter?
Your furnace filter collects dust, pollen, pet dander, and other particles. This improves indoor air quality, but protecting furnace equipment is its most important function. The constricted air flow caused by a clogged filter could:
- Induce short cycling that leaves your home feeling cold
- Overheat the heat exchanger and make it shut off
- Increase utility bills because the fan must work more to move air
- Damage the fan, pilot light, gas valves, or pressure switches
- Shorten the life of blower motor
Upgrading Your Furnace Filter
There are many options available that provide better filtration than a standard 1” filter. Contact our HVAC experts if you would like to find out more. Call Oliver at 1-888-810-2681 or fill out our online form to schedule a furnace tune-up today.