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Heating FAQ: How Often Do I Need to Change the Air Filter?

When it comes to regularly maintaining both the heater and air conditioner in your home, it’s best to leave most of the work to professionals during annual inspections and tune-ups. But there’s an important job that you need to handle yourself between maintenance visits, which is to change the air filter that protects the cabinet of the HVAC system. This applies to any comfort system that uses forced-air and ductwork, such as furnaces, heat pumps, and central air conditioners.

We’re right now coming to the end of the winter, but that doesn’t mean you can become lax about changing the air filter on your furnace/heat pump. If you’re confused about how often you need to be doing this, we’re here to clear that up.

Change the air filter once a month—no matter what!

The HVAC air filter (a post on how to find it) must be changed or cleaned once a month, both during heating and cooling season. It only takes a month for a significant amount of dust, dirt, hair, and other debris coming through the return air ducts to begin creating serious clogs in the filter. If the filter becomes thickly congested, it can result in all kinds of trouble for the heater. Trapped heat inside a furnace because of a clogged filter will often cause the unit to overheat, triggering the limit switch that shuts off the system. Heat pump can suffer from icing along the coils. And the drop in air flow will place strain on the air handler, leading to a rise in utility bills as energy efficiency sharply drops off.

But the filter doesn’t look clogged!

You still need to change or clean it. The reason is that many allergens and asthma triggers can lodge in the filter that are not easily visible to the naked eye. These contaminants will severely affect your indoor air quality if left in place. If you’re using your HVAC system, you have to change the filter each month.

Do you need assistance with your home’s heating? You only need to call on Raleigh Heating & Air, Inc. for quality services in Cary, NC.

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