When, Why, and How to Change Your Air Filter

HVAC systems are one of the greatest inventions of all time. They keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and can also play a role in keeping contaminants out of the air inside your home. But just like any major appliance, your HVAC system needs to be regularly maintained to keep it in good working order.

While you should contact the HVAC professionals at Odyssey Mechanical at least once a year for regular maintenance, there’s one easy thing you can do yourself to help keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape: replacing your air filter.

How Do Air Filters Work?

Most home air filters are made from either spun fiberglass or pleated paper enclosed in a cardboard frame. As your HVAC system circulates air, your filter works hard to remove particulates like:
  • Dust
  • Dirt
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mold spores
  • Lint and cloth fibers
  • Metal and wood particles
  • Animal fur, hair, and dander
  • Some types of bacteria and microorganisms

Why Should You Change Your HVAC Filter?

As your HVAC system pushes air through the filter, it removes many contaminants that can affect your health and damage your HVAC system. If you don’t change your filter regularly, you make start to see the following side effects of having a dirty air filter:
  • Damage to your HVAC system’s fan and other components
  • Reduced airflow
  • An increase of contaminants in your home’s air
  • HVAC system malfunctions
  • Decreased energy efficiency and increased electric bills

When Should You Change Your Air Filter?

For the average family of four, the general rule of thumb is to change your air filter every 90 days or so. If you have one dog or cat, you may need to change your filter every 60 days. Finally, if you have two or more cats or dogs and/or someone in your household has allergies, it’s a good idea to change your air filter every 30-45 days.

How Do You Choose the Right Air Filter Size?

Finding the right air filter for your home is usually as simple as looking at the filter you’re currently using. However, to be certain you’re using the right size, you can check your HVAC system manual, measure the air vent, or ask an experienced HVAC professional for help. 

Your air filter must be the correct size. Filters that are too large will not fit properly, and filters that are too small can allow particulates to bypass the filter, contaminate your air, and clog your HVAC system. And don’t forget that your home may contain multiple air filters. Be sure to check each one’s size and write them down for further reference!

How Do You Change Your Air Filter?

Installing a new air filter is very simple. First off, make sure you turn your HVAC system off before getting started. Next, locate your return air vent. Return air vents are usually covered by a grate and attached by 2-4 screws. After you open your air vent, remove the old air filter.

Your new filter should have airflow arrows that indicate how it should be positioned inside the vents. Make sure the airflow arrows are pointing in, toward the HVAC system, and slide the new filter into place. Close the air vent, attach the grate, turn your system back on and you’re good to go!

Whether you need help determining which size air filter you need, or you have more serious HVAC issues that require expert attention, Odyssey Mechanical is here for you at 910-392-6400.

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