What is an air filter?
An air filter is a cleaning device that removes dust and other harmful particles like pollen, mold, bacteria, fibers, dirt, etc. from the stream of air circulating in the home. They are necessary parts of forced-air HVAC systems that include heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
The quality of your indoor air can be affected by the above-listed particles and with time it can lead to inflammations or some chronic injury such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. But with the help of an air filter, the air is sieved and recirculated improving the quality of your air.
Is there a need to change your air filter?
It is an essential thing to do to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and also to keep your bills on the low side.
How often do you change the air filter?
It has been established that there is a need to change your HVAC system air filters on a regular basis. Here are some recommended averages to change the air filter in your home:
- ● A single occupant with no pets or allergies – 6 to 12 months. An average family home without pets – 90 days
- ● With the inclusion of a pet like a dog or a cat – you know that the odor can build up with time and shedding is a major problem with the change in seasons, so you will have to change your filter out every 60 days
- ● With younger children – If you have kids it is best to keep the indoor air quality as clean as possible to ensure good health for your children so, every 2 to 3 months
- ● With the inclusion of more than one pet and an allergic person – for an asthmatic person the indoor air can be as harmful as the outdoor air. They are very sensitive to the harmful particles in the atmosphere, so it is necessary to change it every 20 to 45 days
What happens when you don’t change the air filter?
If you forget to change your air filter for a long time there are a lot of possible consequences.
- ● Affects the functioning of your HVAC system.
An old air filter is normally clogged with dust, mold, pollen, dirt, bacteria and a lot of other harmful particles. This makes it difficult for the appliance to do its job and it takes a longer time than necessary to do its work.
- ● Apart from affecting its functioning it can break down completely
Most of these units are powered by a fan motor that has to work harder in the presence of a clogged filter which can lead to overheating or even break down.
- ● High energy bill
A malfunctioning or inefficient HVAC system can rack up a very high energy bill which is not the greatest situation to be in.
- ● Cost of replacing spoilt parts
Replacing spoilt parts of a system can be more costly than just replacing an air filter.
- ● Harmful to the health
Your health is on the line here as well. If you don’t regularly change your air filter you are prone to a lot of health disturbances like headaches, coughing, sneezing, etc.
- ● Dust particles and sediments can be seen everywhere
If you have a problem with a clogged air filter the possibility of seeing a lot of dust on the floor, on top of counters, on your laptops and a lot more is very high.
How to locate the air filter in your home?
Sometimes you can run into the problem of not being able to locate the air filter on your HVAC unit. All these units have their air filter and it might be easy to find in one unit and difficult to find in another.
Firstly, inspect the ceiling or wall returns
Some units have their air filter behind the return air grille, which is located in the ceiling or wall.
Inspect basements, attics, garages or crawlspace for your air handler next
For Vertical HVAC systems due to its orientation, it is found in the small basement or crawlspace. There are 2 types, the down-flow, and up-flow units. In the down-flow, the air filter is most probably located on the top and in the up-flow, the air filter is mostly located at the bottom.
For Horizontal HVAC systems, it is mostly found in the larger basements, attics or garages. The air filter is most times located vertically in a filter housing slot on the side.
If after checking these recommended locations you still don’t find your air filter. We suggest you contact an expert, Schedule an appointment with us now at HVAC Alliance Experts.
How to install your air filter?
Installing an air filter might not be as difficult as you might expect, here are some important steps:
- Turn off the unit first.
- Remove the packaging of the new air filter.
- Take note of the day you installed the air filter. Set an alarm reminder to replace again after the recommended days.
- Insert it with the airflow arrow pointing towards the blower motor. Please always refer to your furnace manuals for further information.
An air filter installed incorrectly can overwork the unit. The best way to ensure where the airflow arrow should face is to refer to the old air filter before removing it.
With all these said do not forget to change your air filter regularly.