What Causes a Dirty Air Filter?

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Air Filter Replacement

Replacing your furnace filter is an important ongoing task for homeowners. We usually suggest this should be done every three months, although this varies depending on your home and the HVAC system itself.

Have you ever wondered why that furnace air filter gets so dirty in the first place? Here are just a few reasons why your air filter gets dirty and why it may need to be changed out more often than others:

1. Pets in Your Home

Pets, especially ones that shed, mean that their fur and dander will get sucked up and circulated through your HVAC system. Because of this, your air filter will need to be changed more often. You can help by vacuuming your home and brushing your pet regularly.

If you do have pets in your home, don’t miss our guide to HVAC system care for pet owners.

2. Dust

Has your home recently undergone a renovation, or do you have rooms that don’t get used very often? Dust can accumulate and if it isn’t cleaned, it can wind up in your air filter.

Make sure to change your air filters after a renovation to clear out all the dust, or on a more regular basis if you have a particularly dusty home.

3. Specific Type of Air Filter

Furnace filters can be made of different materials, and that can affect how often they should be replaced.

Fiberglass furnace filters should typically be changed every month, pleated filters made of polyester or paper should be changed every three to six months and electrostatic filters should be cleaned at least once a month.

When in doubt, refer to the instructions for the furnace filter you’ve purchased.

4. Thermostat Settings

If your thermostat is set to “on”, that means the fan is running constantly, circulating air through your home. If that’s the case, it will send dust and other particles through the filter more often than if you were to use the auto setting.

You may also be able to get away with changing it less frequently during the times of year where the temperature is more moderate and your HVAC system goes mostly used. On the other hand, you will need to change it more frequently during the winter and summer months when your furnace and air conditioner are getting more of a regular workout.

5. Leaky Air Ducts

If you have leaks in your ducts, dust could be pulled from other spaces and end up clogging your filter quickly.

It’s important to change out your air filters regularly and to keep an eye on them if any of the above apply to you and your home. A dirty air filter will restrict the airflow that can get through, thereby making your HVAC unit work harder to get cool air through your home.

Not only will you be making your unit work less efficiently, but because it is working so much harder, your energy bills will actually increase, which nobody ever wants to see if it can be avoided!

If you need advice on which air filter is best for your home or if you want to have new air filters delivered to your doorstep on a customized schedule, call the experts at Crystal Heating and Cooling today at 519-756-6888.