This time of year, your HVAC system is probably running almost around the clock to keep up with the hot Omaha sun. And all that extra effort can really tax your unit if you’ve got clogged or dirty air filters. One of the easiest things homeowners can do to maintain their system on their own (and avoid an A/C repair call) is to change their air filters frequently and make sure they’re installed correctly.
If it’s been more than a month since you last replaced your filters, this hack is for you. We’ll cover why you need to change this filter more often than you think, how to find the filter and install a new one correctly, and one key tip that can add years to the life of your system.
Filters are your HVAC system’s first line of defense
Your HVAC system has a powerful air intake. Each air filter that covers that intake works hard to stop dust, dirt, dander, allergens, and all manner of junk and gunk from getting pulled into your system. If those pollutants get into the inner workings of your HVAC unit, they’ll start to collect around the components, suffocating your system’s airflow and slowly decreasing its efficiency.
Dirty air filters can cause:
- Slow airflow
- Low efficiency
- High energy bills
- Uneven airflow, some rooms cooler than others
- Damage to your HVAC system
Without a fresh, clean filter in place, your system will struggle to draw in air, which puts stress and strain on the unit, shortening its lifespan. Keeping your filters fresh is a simple way to keep your system running at peak performance.
How often should you change your HVAC air filters?
The short answer is… it depends! If you have bad allergies, multiple pets, or an older A/C unit, it’s a good idea to change your filter about once a month.
If you’ve been doing house projects or a top-to-bottom spring clean, these filters can clog up even faster. It’s always a good idea to turn your HVAC system off if you’re doing something that’s creating a lot of dust indoors, like sanding or knocking down a wall. But even if your A/C was off during that work, to be on the safe side, consider changing your filters soon.
How to change your HVAC filter the EASY way
1. Locate your filter (or filters)
If you don’t know where the filter is, Just Call Burton. We can walk you through how to find the filter, remove the cover, and determine what new filter you need.
Often, your HVAC filter is behind a narrow panel on your unit, or in the wall or ceiling near the unit. It should be fairly easy to get to. After all, you’ll need to access this filter often!
2. Find the right replacement filter
On the edge of your current filter you’ll see a size, representing the length, width, and thickness of your filter. On the back of the filter, you should also see a MERV rating. This refers to the size of particles your filter will catch. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter will capture. A rating of 8-13 is typically recommended for most homes.
Burton tip: As a rule of thumb, the thickness of your filter is a good general guideline of how often you should change it. For one-inch filters, change them once a month. For four-inch filters, change them every four months, and so on. That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a good guideline.
3. Insert the new filter
Your filter should have an arrow on the edge. In a typical HVAC unit, you want that arrow to face towards the equipment. So, if you’re replacing a filter in the wall or ceiling, that arrow should point away from you, and towards the ductwork.
Unsure of which side is which? Just Call Burton. We’ll walk you through exactly how to install it correctly. Then, grab a marker and write a note to yourself on the inside of the filter cover panel. You’ll never have to guess again.
Burton Tip: When you replace your HVAC air filter, write the date on it. That way you know when it’s time to replace it again.
Once the new filter is in place, put the cover back on and enjoy your clean air. At least until next month!
And our #1 tip for extending the life of your HVAC unit: Buy your filters in bulk!
Many homeowners skip this crucial maintenance step. But by buying a year’s worth of filters at once, you’ll always have one handy for a quick exchange. At Burton, we’ll even deliver a one-year supply of the right kind of filters for your unit straight to your doorstep, saving you the hassle of searching online or wandering around your hardware store. It’s just another way we set up local homeowners for success.
If you tried today’s Homeowner Hack and your HVAC system isn’t running right, or if you’re ready for your own one-year filter supply, Just Call Burton.
Our highly-trained, Omaha-based A/C repair experts have seen (and fixed!) it all. Call today to schedule a maintenance visit or ask a question, and don’t forget to inquire about our ongoing specials!