How Often Should I Change My Return Air Filter?

A clean return air filter is essential to prolonging the life and efficiency of an HVAC system

Owning a home comes with many responsibilities, and the ones that aren’t a top priority can be easy to forget about. One commonly overlooked maintenance task is changing the return air filter in the HVAC system. A dirty filter can not only increase electrical bills, it will also contribute to low indoor air quality, and lead to potential system failure. There are numerous factors that go into the frequency a filter needs to be changed, including the unit itself, climate, how often it’s run, pets and allergies.

Importance Of Changing The Return Air Filter

  • Cost Benefits
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • System Wear and Tear

Factors To Consider When Changing The Filter

  • System Equipment
  • Climate
  • Frequency of Use
  • Pets
  • Allergies

Why is it important to change the filter?

Cost Benefits
Many people think an HVAC filter’s only job is to keep dust and debris out of the HVAC unit. While this is partially true, the filter is responsible for much more than meets the eye. A clean filter keeps debris from reaching important components in the system and is an important factor in maximum efficiency, which leads to lower monthly costs.

Indoor Air Quality
Changing the return filter is essential to clean indoor air, and prevent dust and allergens from circulating through the home or office. A dirty or damaged filter will allow this debris to travel through the air, and create an environment for increased allergy issues.

System Wear and Tear
On top of the cost and health benefits of a clean return air filter, the HVAC system will not have to work as hard to cool or heat the space. A clean filter maintains the correct amount of air flowing in and out of the system, which is essential to the design of the unit. If the ratio is thrown off balance, the system will work harder than necessary, which can lead to costly issues.
Factors To Consider When Performing Maintenance

Equipment
The type of HVAC system will be the main determining factor on the filter replacement schedule. It’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, however outside factors can play a role in shorting the filter life span.

Climate
The climate the home or building is located in plays an important role in how often the filter needs to be replaced. Hot, dry and dusty areas tend to go through filters quickly due to the added elements they’re forced to contend with.

Frequency Of Use
The more often the heating and air conditioner are used, the more frequently the filter will need to be changed. Unfortunately, the harsher the climate, the more likely there will be a need for extended use. This is why it is absolutely essential to stay on top of the filter in extreme temperatures and ensure the unit is operating at its peak potential.

Pets
Hair and fur, along with the additional dust and dirt created by pets can wreak havoc on an HVAC system. If one or more pets live in the home, it is recommended to change the filter every 2 months minimum.

Allergies
When it comes to having allergies, the HVAC system can be your best friend or worst enemy. A properly functioning HVAC unit will help reduce the dust and allergens in the air. On the other hand, a dirty filter can actually increase the number of airborne irritants throughout the house.

Grizzly HERS Testing
Grizzly HERS Testing
Grizzly HERS Testing is a certified HERS Rater and Energy Consultant. We specialize in Title 24 HERS Verifications, Residential HERS Testing, Mechanical Acceptance Testing and Title 24 Energy Calculations.