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How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace Filters?

One easy way to improve indoor air quality is by regularly changing your filters. Changing your air filters is fast and improves the lifespan of your furnace.

Leaving an air filter in your furnace for too long can lead to higher energy bills, insufficient heat, and cause your unit to break down more rapidly.

So, how often should you change your furnace filters?

It depends! When you have the heat running every day, you should replace your filter every month, at a minimum. If you have pets or other environmental issues that could cause your filter to fill up faster, consider replacing it even more regularly. You can replace your filters quarterly when you aren’t running the heat every day. Usage is the most significant factor when deciding when to replace your furnace filters. Did you know that your air conditioning unit also uses your furnace filter? Most people don’t realize this and forget to check the filter during the cooling season, which can cause additional wear and tear on their equipment and lead to equipment failure and costly repairs.

While it’s possible to wait too long to change your filters, it’s never too early. If you think of it, look at your filter to see if it needs a replacement.

To maximize your furnace performance and lifespan, it’s also a good idea to schedule seasonal maintenance. 

In this blog, we cover the following:

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Why Your Furnace Needs Air Filtration

The primary function of a furnace filter is to remove dirt, debris, and other particles from the air that can build up in your furnace, creating clogs and further damage. However, filtering the air has other benefits that improve indoor air quality.

Filters can remove allergens like dust and pollen, making it easier for those with asthma and seasonal allergies. A clean filter can also minimize pet dander in the air, making it easier for visitors that may have allergies to your four-legged family members. 

Plus, air pollution has become a significant health risk, making furnace filters an inexpensive way to safeguard your health. The EPA even lists air filters as an effective way to reduce the spread of viruses in your home.

Problems Caused by Poor Filter Maintenance

When you don’t change your filters regularly, they fill up with dust and debris. Once the filter starts to fill, it creates areas where air doesn’t flow properly. Anything that impedes airflow makes your furnace or air conditioning unit work harder to produce the same level of heat or cooling. Lack of airflow during your cooling season can lead to equipment freezing or failing. 

Also, once your filter is full, it stops trapping particles. The particles make their way into your furnace motor or other moving systems. A little bit of grit in your motor blower can lead to mechanical problems over time. Combine a dirty motor with constant running to keep up with the cold, and you have a recipe for expensive repairs. 

Regularly changing your filter helps keep air moving smoothly through the system and reduces the risks of major system failure.

The Different Types of Furnace Filters

There are lots of different types of furnace filters. Mixed media, pleated, HEPA, and fiberglass are just the beginning. But the easiest categories are pretty straightforward: filters you need to clean vs. filters you need to replace.

Filters You Need to Clean

If your furnace has a permanent filter, cleaning it is the best way to ensure optimal airflow. Simply soak the filter in a solution of water, soap, and vinegar for about 10 minutes. Then, wipe the filter down to remove any remaining dirt. You’ll need to wait until the filter dries completely before reinstalling it. Before you start, turn off your furnace and wait for the unit to cease running. 

Many permanent filters can be used for years with regular cleanings. If you have a permanent filter, take a few minutes to clean it when you notice dust on your vents or any unusual odors in your home. It only takes a few minutes and delivers many benefits to your indoor air quality and maintenance costs.

Filters You Need to Replace

HEPA filters and other disposable options can’t be cleaned and must be replaced. They trap dust and other particles inside the filters, making surface cleaning ineffective. Every filter should have instructions for optimal use and replacement timing. The thicker the filter, the less often it needs replacing and the more powerful it is.

However, that doesn’t mean you should opt for the thickest filter you can force into your unit. Instead, ask one of our HVAC pros at Cooper Heating & Cooling to find out about the recommended options for your unit. Too much filtration can block airflow just as effectively as a clogged filter.

The Benefits of Routine Furnace Tune-Ups

At Cooper Heating & Cooling, our furnace tune-ups include a 21-point inspection and filter replacement options. By testing all of your safety systems and lubricating moving parts, we help your furnace run as intended during the cold season. The result is that your unit is less likely to need repairs and often operates at greater energy efficiency. 

Furnace tune-ups help you save money on operating costs by minimizing the need for expensive repairs. In addition, a tune-up helps keep your family safe while you’re using a combustion heating solution.

Want an Expert Opinion From the Pros at Cooper Heating & Cooling?

Contact us today for 5‑star service and advice from trusted experts. Cooper Heating & Cooling, you get more than 40 years of HVAC expertise and free estimates when you buy a maintenance plan!