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FAQ: How Often Should I Replace My HVAC System’s Air Filter?

Most modern homes that use forced-air for heating and cooling have an HVAC setup that consists of a furnace and air conditioner inside a single cabinet with the same air handler working for both. A filter mounted near the air handler where the return ducts connects to the cabinet does the job of protecting the internal mechanisms in the cabinet from dust and dirt. In order for an HVAC system to continue to work effectively—whether during cold or hot weather—this filter must be free from heavy clogs.

Changing this filter (or cleaning it in cases where the system uses a permanent filter) is part of routine maintenance for your HVAC system. You should always have biannual visits from professional technicians to inspect and tune-up the system, but changing the air filter is a task you’ll need to remember to do on your own throughout the year.

Change or clean the filter once a month

Since you’ll probably use your HVAC system every month of the year, either heating or cooling your home, the filter should be changed monthly. It only takes this long for a significant amount of dust, dander, carpet and furniture fibers, and other debris to clog up the filter and place extra strain on the air handler. This will lead to an increase in energy bills and possible repairs you wouldn’t otherwise need. For a furnace, a clogged filter can trigger overheating that will lead to the system shutting down. With an air conditioner, it may create frost over the evaporator coils.

Even if the filter doesn’t appear to be congested with debris, you still need to change it. Tiny allergens and other minute particles can be lodged in its mesh, and this will lead to a decline in your indoor air quality.

If you need help finding the air filter, you can call on HVAC professionals. Technicians are always glad to help you during maintenance to show how to clean/change the filter yourself.

Sign up for our maintenance program at Malek Heating & Cooling today! We’ve served Evanston, IL and rest of the Chicagoland area since 1998.

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