Keep it clean
Any qualified HVAC expert worth their salt will tell you that the easiest, yet most important way to keep furnaces working as efficiently as possible is to change the air filter on a regular basis. Ideally, they should be replaced (or at least checked) every month, especially in the winter and summer when your system is used the most. If the surface of the filter has darkened, put in a new one. At the very minimum, they need to be changed every three months. Smoking indoors, having pets and other factors require filters to be changed more frequently.
Why is changing a furnace filter so important? The reasons are many, and some may surprise you. A clean filter prevents dust, dirt and other particles from building up in your system, which allows it to run smoothly. The amount of debris captured by the filter increases over time. Eventually, it becomes so dirty that it hampers airflow. Your system is then forced to work harder and harder to move the amount of air necessary to maintain your desired home temperature. The amount of additional energy your furnace has to draw under these conditions is significant, which can result in higher utility bills.
Easily avoidable emergency maintenance can be even more damaging to your bank account. The strain dirty filters create is generally the number one cause of motor burn out, overheating and even total system failure. And it’s not just the health of your furnace that’s affected by dirty filters.
A clean filter removes most of the dust, pet dander, pollen particles and mold spores that would otherwise be in the air breathed by you and your family. Some filters even trap microscopic contaminants like bacteria, particles that carry viruses, and soot. This higher air quality is especially crucial for the very young, the elderly and those with asthma or allergies. It’s also been found that cleaner air helps prevent certain breathing problems from developing in the first place.
Remember not to forget!
Changing a filter is easily done, but consult your unit’s manual if you need guidance. The toughest part may be remembering to do it. Here are some suggestions to help you stay on it.
- Check your filter when you receive your electric bill.
- When replacing a filter, write the date on the filter with a permanent marker. That way you can always see how long it has been inside.
- Add a reminder on your phone or computer calendar. Even a good old-fashioned wall calendar will do!
- Keep extra filters on hand so you’re prepared to replace them if necessary, without having to make a special trip.
With good filter habits, you’ll keep your furnace working the way it should and save money while you do it while protecting the health of you and your family. You can shop for filters by visiting energizeefficently.coop or at hardware and home improvement stores near you. When it comes to furnace filters, change is good!