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A properly functioning HVAC system is the lifeline to your home. Since it runs all year long and sometimes day and night, it won’t last forever. In fact, the average lifespan varies from 12 to 15 years.

This is why you need to do all that you to can ensure it operates for as long as possible and ultimately saves you money.

One way to extend the life of your whole HVAC system is to change its air filter regularly. It’s simple, inexpensive and you can do it yourself. Read on to find out more.

How HVAC Filters Work

To filter the air entering your home’s HVAC system, air filters use either pleated paper or fiberglass to remove particles. Depending on the amount of filtration that’s built-in, they’ll remove all sorts of airborne items, such as fur, pollen, mold, lint, and dust.

As the air passes through, the particles are trapped, and will gradually fill up the filter, reducing the airflow into the system. The best way to help your HVAC unit out is to not let this happen by changing the filter.

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How This Helps Your HVAC System

Clean air going in will help keep your system running more efficiently and longer. It prevents extra dirt and particles from damaging internal machinery and components. On top of the benefits, effective filtration also minimizes airborne contaminants in your home, providing healthier breathing conditions.

Why Neglecting Filter Changes Can Cause Big Problems

Air filters are great as doing what they’re designed for: cleaning the air. As a dirty filter begins to use up all available space, the airflow will be affected. With less air coming through, your home’s HVAC unit will have to work harder to heat or cool the house. This adds greater wear and tear to the system, increases utility bills, allows dust to build up in your ducts, and stops removing particles from the air.

It’s hard to believe that just one simple air filter can cause a cascade of problems, but it’s an easy fix that you shouldn’t put off doing.

How to Find Your Filter Size

HVAC filter sizes vary widely. Fortunately, the sizes are printed on your unit’s documentation. It will determine what size of filter you need.

The other consideration is the amount of filtration provided, measured as the MERV rating. This will range from 1-16, with 1 as the basic level of filtration, and 16 providing the maximum.

How to Change a Filter - and When

Energy Star suggests checking your filter every month during times of heavy use, such as summer and winter. If it looks dirty when you inspect it, go ahead and change it.

After turning off your heating or cooling, slide out the old filter. Check to see which way the arrow printed on the filter frame points. This indicates the direction of the airflow. You’ll want to orient the new filter in the same way.

Install the new filter, secure any clips or grills, and you’re finished!

Wrapping Up

This simple task can be added to your monthly calendar, and made easier by buying your replacement filters in bulk. You’ll be helping your HVAC unit work at peak efficiency, last longer, and providing fresh air throughout your home.

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