What Happens When You Don’t Change Your HVAC Filter Regularly

By Clete Campbell

It sounds like a bad joke you tell when you don’t have any plans for the weekend.

“Whatcha doing Saturday night?”

“Nothing much, I’ll be home changing my HVAC filters.”

But if you do have a free night, or even just 5 free minutes, changing your HVAC filter isn’t a bad idea. It’s actually a great idea for your home’s air quality. What is an afterthought or non-thought for many busy multi-tasking American homeowners is actually an essential quarterly home maintenance task to ensure clean, healthy air is circulating throughout your home.

“Clean air is a must for your home, so changing your HVAC filters should be a priority,” Bankrate’s Jennifer Bradley Franklin stresses.

A good rule of thumb about when it’s time to change your HVAC filter: If you can’t remember the last time or if you’ve ever changed your HVAC filter, it’s time to change them all, Stat. Also, if they are so dirty, you are staring into a dust fog when looking at them, it’s time to change them yesterday.

You don’t want your family breathing smog, especially during the cold heart of winter.

“Clogged and dirty filters restrict air flow, slow air circulation and reduce the effectiveness of your system,” Andrea Collins, head of brand marketing for Hippo Insurance, told Bankrate.

Neglecting this easily forgotten task also can hit you in the wallet, leading to higher energy bills and future maintenance issues. For HVAC air filters protect the system’s HVAC equipment from harmful particles and debris.

So press pause on that Netflix show you’re binging to remember to change your HVAC filters on these recommended timelines:

  • 1-2” Filters: Every 3 months
  • 4” Filters: Every 6 months
  • 5” Filters: Every 12 months
  • Disposable Fiberglass Filters should be disposed of and replaced every 30 days.

And there’s nothing wrong with being a little OCD about changing your air filter every month.

“The truth is, you won’t cause any problems by changing your filter every 30 days and you might even prevent some,” notes Energy Vanguard’s Allison Bailes.

For clean HVAC air filters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stresses, “can reduce indoor air pollution.”

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