One of the most common questions we get at HVAC Premium is how often filters and air filter grilles need to be replaced. This makes sense, as filter maintenance is one of the most important — and simplest — ways of keeping your HVAC system healthy and cost-efficient.
But before we dive into the question of maintenance and replacement, let’s explore why it’s critical you keep your HVAC system in top shape.
A long-term investment needs to be carefully considered
An HVAC system typically lasts between 15 and 25 years — so for better or worse, you’re going to be using it for some time.
Combine the above with the role your system plays in home comfort and health, and you see how important selecting a high quality system is!
When planning for an HVAC installation in your home, consider the following:
Size: Oversized systems are impractical and expensive, often leading to higher day-to-day energy expenditure and costs. If your home is well-insulated or has been renovated recently, you can’t go wrong with smaller heating and cooling units. Square footage plays a role too, but it’s not as important as the design, insulation and efficiency of your home. To ensure you select the right system, we’d advise seeking professional advice before taking the plunge.
Additional equipment: If your home is located in an area with a dry climate, you may need to consider evaporative coolers to keep temperatures optimum. Darker spaces or rooms that aren't well insulated — such as garages — could benefit from radiant heat systems.
Efficiency: HVAC systems have two variants — high efficiency and standard efficiency. The former is more expensive up-front, but could save on maintenance costs in the long run, while the latter is cheaper and may not run optimally for as long as a high efficiency model. For optimum HVAC installation, we’d recommended contacting a specialist for advice.
The importance of maintaining and replacing your filters
Most of us spend about 90% of our time indoors. This means that we’re very susceptible to indoor air pollution; particularly children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
According to an IAQ Facts Sheet, the air we breathe is made up of:
34% microbes: Bacteria, viruses, fungi, pathogens and allergens.
31% gases: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), gas molecules, odor and toxins.
35% particulates: Organic and inorganic dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander and dust mites.
What’s more is an estimated 10% of the population is allergic to cat or dog dander! As exposure to airborne and surface contamination can be considerable, we need to do all we can to create a healthy environment with continuous airflow. To achieve this, you should clean, maintain and replace your HVAC filters regularly.
Filter and air filter grille maintenance and replacement
Generally, your air filters should be changed every 30 days. This promotes energy efficiency and guards against ‘system overload’ from having to push air through particulate accumulation. It's important to note that even the thinnest particles of dust can reduce airflow by 50%, so make sure to replace your filter if you can see dust lining it. A few other signs that your filters need replacing are:
You detect more dust in the air (or on surfaces) than normal.
There are abnormal smells, such as a burning odor, coming from your HVAC system.
There is visible dirt on your filters.
How often you replace your filters depends on your living environment, lifestyle, and the air filters you use. That said, the following guidelines for specific filters are good ‘rules of thumb’:
Fiberglass filters should be replaced every 30 days.
Pleated air filters and furnace filters should be replaced every 30–60 days (depending on their quality).
If someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma, or if you want better air quality overall, you should change your filter every 30 days.
If you have pets, you should use a higher MERV, or replace your filter every 30 days to deal with odors and sheddings.
It’s best to replace your filter every 30 days for optimum air quality, especially if you have children.
To further protect and prolong your air filters, you should ensure your air filter grilles are kept clean and well-maintained. Air filter grilles should be replaced if you detect any rust or damage, such as warping or cracks. If there is a rattling sound, it may mean the fittings need to be resecured or replaced.
Get the best bang for your buck by seeking professional advice
Bottom line: It’s best practice to replace your air filters every 30 days for optimum air quality and to keep your HVAC system in top shape.
Ultimately, you want the best parts for your HVAC system so that your home interior is comfortable and healthy. HVAC Premium has the largest selection of HVAC components in the USA, with a team of specialists who are happy to advise on the styles and shapes best-suited to your home interior. For an idea of the scope of our offering, have a look at our air filter catalogue here, as well as our air filter grilles.