The most important DIY task you can do for your cooling and heating system is regular air filter replacement. Nothing decreases system airflow like a dirty filter and insufficient airflow is the primary cause of poor cooling and heating performance, high operating costs and even premature component failure. So there’s no doubt that regular air filter replacement is well worth the effort. The question then becomes: how often is “regularly?”

Most experts recommend you at least visually inspect your filter once a month. If a glance at the filter media reveals that it’s dusty, damaged or damp, or you see any evidence of mold or mildew growth, go ahead and change it now. It’s inexpensive insurance. Filters purchased in multi-packs are economical; the whole procedure only takes a minute, and the minimal effort pays off with enhanced comfort, efficiency and better indoor air quality, too. Other factors, however, also tip the balance toward making monthly filter changes a regular habit, including:

  • Your central A/C and furnace normally operate a total of at least six months out of the average year.
  • Keeping furniture and other household surfaces dust-free seems like a losing battle.
  • The household includes pets. Pet dander and pet hair are commonly airborne and end up circulating through the HVAC system ductwork and are captured by the filter.
  • The home has many occupants. More people means more activity and stirred up dust and dirt that clogs the filter more rapidly.
  • Anyone in the family is susceptible to airborne allergy triggers like dust, pollen or other particulates.
  • Someone in the house smokes indoors.
  • Your local climate is windy and outdoor air is often dusty.
  • The home incorporates a working fireplace that is occasionally put to use.
  • You live near a major traffic artery like a freeway or in a central urban area.

Contact the HVAC professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electric for more advice on when and how to do air filter replacement yourself.