If you’re a first-time homeowner or recently purchased a new home, you will need to take a look at your HVAC system’s air filter and replace it as necessary. The simple task of changing your air filter will go a long way in maintaining your indoor air quality, maximizing efficiency and increasing the longevity of your system’s lifetime. Below, I will walk you through a few simple steps to replace your air filter, as well as the reasons routine filter updates are important.
- Determine filter type. Begin by turning off your furnace and removing the existing filter located inside the furnace or return air vent. Check to see if the filter is reusable (plastic frame) or disposable (cardboard frame). If the filter is reusable, your next steps are to clean it with a vacuum and water, and let dry before reinserting. If, however, your air filter is disposable, write down the filter size printed on the cardboard frame.
- Find the right replacement. Purchasing the right-sized filter is essential to ensure effective removal of dust, pollen and other allergens. A typical filter is one or two inches thick. However, larger filters – up to five inches – are available and can provide superior air quality. Please note, your furnace must be equipped to handle a larger filter or may need to be modified by one of our certified technicians.
Keep in mind, a high price does not always equate to quality. There are several high efficiency filters available at minimal cost – and Wyckoff has you covered. Remember, no service, parts or repair request is too small.
Learn more about the differences in filter types and efficiency from Wyckoff co-owner Job Cooper:
- Install the air filter. Look for the arrow on the filter marking airflow direction. Slide the filter into place, and replace any cover that goes over it. Keep an accurate record of the date you updated the filter so you can practice routine replacement, every one to three months.
Now that you understand how to replace your air filter, let’s look at some of the reasons routine maintenance is so important.
- Prevent overheating. Dirt accumulates in filters over time, especially during summer and winter months when heating and cooling systems are in peak use here in Iowa. Build-up restricts airflow, causing the system to work overtime. This can result in overheating, and detrimental damage to your furnace.
- Increase efficiency. Backed-up filters increase energy usage by reducing airflow and making the motor work harder. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for almost half of the average home’s utility bills. With routine filter replacement, a typical HVAC system will burn five to 15 percent less fuel than systems using the same filter year-round.
- Improve indoor air quality. Changing your air filter regularly can significantly improve your indoor air quality by preventing dust, dirt, mold and allergens from entering your home. Family members with asthma and allergies can be negatively impacted by poor indoor air quality. Protect them by changing your filter, and allowing it to do its job.
- Cut down on repair costs and the likelihood of replacement. An HVAC system has an estimated life expectancy based on product quality, installation and how well it is maintained – that’s why routine maintenance is so important. Clogged filters also allow dirt and dust to settle inside the vents which makes the motor work harder and the system more susceptible to costly repairs.
For more information on filters or to order your year supply of filters, contact Wyckoff’s service department at (515) 287-6000.