The air filter prevents dust and other debris from circulating through the HVAC system. If the air filter doesn't do this, not only will debris pass through and begin to clog your HVAC system, but it will also end up circulating around your home along with the air circulating your system. Replacing the air filter and having the HVAC system inspected regularly are part of a preventive maintenance routine. Failure to change the air filter can damage other parts of the system and can result in a large repair bill later on.
Changing air filters regularly can help preserve the life of your system and make it work more efficiently. If the air filter is clogged and can't trap contaminants like it used to, those things can go back to the air that everyone in your home breathes. Immediate problems may include headaches, itchy eyes or throat, and dizziness. If the air filters are not changed and problems persist, the long-term effects could be respiratory disease, heart disease, or cancer.
Getting the most value out of your home can be as easy as changing air filters. Homeowners who ignore filters in their heating and air conditioning systems risk increasing energy costs, damaging expensive equipment, and decreasing indoor air quality and personal health. See below to learn what can happen if you don't change your air filters. If you have a higher efficiency filter and don't change the AC filter often enough, a buildup of moisture can cause mold to build up in the ducts, leading to serious mold infestations.
Keep reading to learn more about how the air filters work in your HVAC system and what can happen when they aren't changed on a regular basis. In general, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing your air filter every 90 days or 3 months. The Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how effectively the filter prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter into the air stream. These air filters act as barriers to prevent contaminants from entering the HVAC system or circulating in the air.
In fact, you're wasting your money, which you could easily save by regularly replacing your HVAC air filter. Filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings. If you haven't changed your home's air filters lately, the next step should be to determine which filters you need and replace them as soon as possible. If you notice that your HVAC system isn't working as efficiently, changing your air filters could solve the problem.
But if you don't change your HVAC air filter regularly, you may need to change your HVAC system long before that. You can hear it: Your HVAC technician is giving you lessons on how to make sure you change your air filter. Reusable filters should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions, so your HVAC technician can help. It is recommended that you undergo a regular HVAC maintenance check and replace your HVAC air filter every 2 to 3 months.
Air filters typically have a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Report Value) that determines the type and size of contaminants against which the filter will act.