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How Often You Need to Replace Your Furnace Filters?

What is a Furnace Filter?

Air filters or air handling units such as boilers, heat recovery ventilator, and ERV systems are intended to clean and purify the air before it enters your home’s ducts, thus protecting the indoor air against contamination by airborne particles. Dust, dirt, and pollen in the air have been shown to have adverse effects on human health and cause, or worsen, respiratory problems such as asthma.

It is interesting to know that certain filters can prevent airborne viruses from circulating in our heating systems. And, although COVID-19 has only a limited airborne presence, the measles virus is 8-10 times more likely to get in the air heating systems. That’s why it’s so important to reduce the risk of virus transport with a simple filter change: a better efficiency filter is the right choice.

What if I have a reliable filtration system?

Although nowadays, furnace filters are more advanced in terms of management and capture of different particles, it is unfortunately impossible to rely 100% on them to maintain a healthy environment. Homeowners often forget about filter changing. There are some situation when you need to change filter more often. For example: the presence of animals at home, air ducts not 100% tight are some of the causes of the accumulation of residues in the air ducts. Year after year, the amount of harmful particles is increasing. Coughs, sore throats, flu, bacteria, and many other harmful problems can be because of the dirty furnace filters.

Why do you need to change the furnace filter regularly?

If you don’t change furnace filters regularly you put your furnace under high risk of being broken. Therefore, you will pay more money to repair the furnace in the future. Under normal conditions, a filter has to be replaced from every few weeks to up to 3 to 4 months, depending on the type of filter. Either way, a manufacturer’s suggested replacement period should be listed on the systems, so follow it! It is also useful to check the filter itself. There are different manufacturers and types of filters that affect the efficiency, depending on whether it is designed to filter viruses, or on its working period. There are also reusable furnace filters, that may be cheaper in the long run.

You May Need to Replace it More Often.

If anybody in your home has allergies, they will profit by more regular air filter changes. A better filter will cost more. However, it can be of great help for your air.

Regularly changing filters in your furnace will guarantee that your heater runs efficiently and proficiently. Therefore, the air you and your family inhales is as perfect as could be expected under the circumstances. 

If you have hairy pets living in your home, this will decrease your heater filter’s life. For one animal living at home, you should change your filter at regular intervals for a 2- inch filter, four months for a four-inch filter, and a half year for a five-inch filter. 

The more pets living in your home, the less the filter will last. 

If your animals sheds a lot, it’s useful to take them outside for an intensive brushing to decrease the fur all over your home.

Dust is another factor that can decrease the life of your furnace filter.

What happens if you don’t change your furnace filter regularly?

Many people forget that ventilation ducts can accumulate dust, dirt, allergens, mold, fungus, and other elements harmful to  health. Even with the most efficient filters, the outdoor dust is sucked up by the air flow and stay in the air duct. To maintain an adequate hygiene level, it is recommended to perform a thorough cleaning every five years. Annual furnace maintenance is highly recommended by most of HVAC companies. 

What to clean, and how often?

Although there is no one exact formula for every system given the different situation (animals, presence of smokers, large family, etc.), we can still estimate some reasonably reliable data.

  • Centralized forced air system: cleaning recommended every five year.
  • Air exchanger system (heat recovery): cleaning recommended every five years
  • Dryer exhaust duct: cleaning recommended every two years
  • Bathroom fan exhaust duct: cleaning recommended every 3 to 5 years

Although it is unnecessary to clean this equipment every year, it is essential to pay special attention and visually inspect it once a year.

 Cleaning methods

While it’s okay to vacuum with a hose inside your ducts, you can’t do a complete cleaning. To do this, you must use the services of a company specializing in the field. The cleaning processes are called “Pulsion-Suction” or “Pulsion-Friction-Suction.” A high airflow negative air sensor will be installed at the heating system to suck up anything dislodged from the ducts. This sensor is much more powerful than a simple vacuum cleaner, at 2,500 to 5,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) compared to 100 to 150 CFM for a household appliance. An air compressor is then paired with rotating brushes, stirring tools, or air nozzles to dislodge the dust and particles lodged on the walls.

Call Smile HVAC for a Furnace Check-up

In short, it is recommended to replace your furnace filter every quarter, but it is a priority to do so according to the recommendations given to you above. Remember the crucial elements: type of filter, filtration rate, human and animal presence, allergies etc. Please do not hesitate to check our list of available furnace filters and contact us if you need more information!

 Smile HVAC team will be happy to assist you in replacing your furnace filters, while providing the best service in the GTA region. We also provide furnace installation and furnace repair services, so contact us and our professional technicians will take care of your equipment.

31-32, 8600 Keele st, Vaughan, ON L4K 4H8

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