How Often Should You Change Your Filter?

A: It depends on what type of filter your Houston HVAC system uses.  The traditional 1” filters that you see on wall or ceiling filter racks—you should replace every two to three months depending on the filter.  You would have to read the instructions on the filter manual. On the higher-end media filter cabinets, those filters are recommended to be replaced every 6-9 months or even up to a year.  Again, depending on the filter— so just always be mindful of the manufacturer recommendations. Also, it depends on usage, some people use their systems more than others.

Houston HVAC Owners—We Have A Problem

Here in Houston, we have some of the harshest summer heatwaves in the nation. Houston HVAC systems are never worked harder than between June and September.  Often, our emergency repair calls center around a common cause of failure—clogged air filters. Yes, far too often, Houston residents are choking the life out of their systems without intending to.

In fact, think about it—when did you last change your system’s air filter?  If you can’t remember, then it has probably been too long—take a look at it. Is it filthy? Go ahead—check it, we’ll wait.  Chances are if you haven’t changed it since before summer, it’s gunked up pretty good.  On average, many of our repair calls are due to homeowners going three or more months between changes.  This can make a huge difference in the efficiency and longevity of your Houston HVAC system.

More Dirt, More Problems

One of the most common questions homeowners in Houston ask us on service calls is—“Is changing the filter really a big deal?” The answer is an overwhelming, “YES!”  Your air conditioner’s filter is what removes contaminants from the air. These contaminants can negatively impact the air quality indoors as well as the overall efficiency of your system.  The longer you go without replacing the air filter, the more constricted airflow is. That makes your system work harder, your house cool much slower, and in many cases can kill your Houston HVAC prematurely.

That is because when an air filter is so dirty that it becomes clogged, it can cause problems such as:

Blower Motor Strain/Failure

The blower motor is the component that makes the air move throughout your home.  If the air filter is getting constricted flow due to clogging the blower motor becomes strained.  It’s having to work harder to pull the necessary air volume which can cause a breakdown.

Compromise Comfort

If your air filter is clogged with dirt that means less conditioned air moving through your registers.  This means it will take far longer for your home to cool and take longer to do so.  This makes your HVAC run for longer and more often which leads to the next big problem.

Higher Energy Bills

Think about it—the longer your HVAC system runs the more electricity you use. It runs longer because you have restricted airflow which makes heating and cooling take longer.

Houston HVAC Owners—We Have A Solution

Fortunately, keeping your air filter clean and your airflow unrestricted is not a difficult task. In fact, it is one of the few maintenance tasks you can do with no knowledge of HVAC equipment. When it comes to changing air filters, the question isn’t whether you should—it’s how often you should do it. Every Houston HVAC system is different and there are other factors to consider.

Factors That Affect How Frequently You Change Filters

Considering the air filter is a critical component of proper HVAC maintenance and allows your system to breathe easy.  How often you need to change the air filter really depends on some variables that will dictate how often you need to change it.

How Frequently You Use Your HVAC System

The more you use your system, the more often the filter is being used and needs to be changed—it’s that simple.  If you have a beach house down in Galveston you only use sparingly then you could get by with annual replacements.  However, for most Houston homes you want to change filters every 90 days as a basic guideline. That could be a shorter time frame though depending on your home environment. If you want to be sure, it’s better to err on the side of caution and change it monthly.

How Many Occupants And Pets In Your Home

The number of people that live in your home in addition to pets will have an impact on the quality of your air. For example, a single occupant without pets will have to replace their filter far less frequently than a family of four with two dogs.  Pets can add extra dander to your home’s air as well as contaminants like dust, pollen and dirt. The more pets you have, the more often you’ll need to change the filter.

Type Of Air Filter

Last but certainly not least, the more efficient your air filter is, the less frequently it will need to be changed. It’s a good practice to follow the manufacturer guidelines and adjust based on the characteristics of your home.

Benefits of Regularly Changing Your Air Filter

Checking your air filter once a month and replacing it promptly when needed is a good habit to get into. By simply being proactive about filter changes and keeping them clean you will reap so many benefits this habit offers such as:

Extended System Lifespan

Neglecting proper maintenance on your Houston HVAC system can seriously shorten its lifespan—especially failing to change filters.  If you want your system to have a full life and even possibly exceed expected service life—regularly change the filter.  The best way to stay on top of this is with Airteam’s MVP preventative maintenance program. We’ll make sure your system stays performing at the top of its potential. The MVP program also helps us catch small problems before they become costly ones.

Lessens Repairs

Clogged air filters can lead to the system overheating, airflow restriction, and introduces more dirt and contaminants to the entire system.  You want to keep your HVAC system clean, dependable, and efficient—that requires clean filters.

Boosts Air Quality

Many Houstonians spend over 90% of their time inside their homes, especially during the summer.  This makes indoor air quality that much more important.  Filters that are changed regularly, combined with twice-yearly maintenance are vital to the longest possible system life.

More Savings On Energy

Dirty filters can choke your system by restricting the volume of airflow, making the system work a lot harder.  Often it not only runs harder which uses energy at a higher rate; but also for longer periods.  This leads to much higher energy bills a lot of wasted energy. Making sure you keep a clean air filter often keeps the bill and waste down.  In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping up with air filter maintenance can save 5-15% on your energy bill.  With the cost of electricity constantly on the rise and hampering household budgets, those savings a clean air filter brings really come in handy.

Call Airteam For Houston HVAC Service You Can Trust

Changing the air filter in your HVAC system is a simple task that will keep your system running smoothly.  However, it’s not the only preventative maintenance task you need to make a habit of.  Many other tasks such as lubrication and coolant checks require a professional.

When you need professionals you can trust, you need Airteam—the champions of Houston HVAC repair.  Whether it’s something as simple as a filter replacement, or something more complex such as repairing a leak—we have you covered.  Our team of skilled and knowledgeable technicians will treat you with respect and honesty.  We stay in business by offering integrity in service— not upsells and frivolous upgrades.

Contact us today to learn more about our MVP preventative maintenance program and schedule your service.


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