Do You Know How Dirty Your Furnace Filter Is?

Do You Know How Dirty Your Furnace Filter Is?


There’s a good chance you don’t know how much dirt and debris your furnace filter has collected in your El Dorado Hills home, and you’re far from alone. Air filters should be changed regularly for a few very important reasons, but it’s a simple maintenance task that many of us often forget.

Why You Should Change Your HVAC Filters

Filters are made to get dirty. As air circulates through your home’s heating and cooling system, the filter collects dust, dirt and other particles and holds them in place while the filtered air continues back out into your living area. A filter’s ability to do this well is important for a couple of reasons:

  • HVAC Efficiency

Many HVAC issues can be avoided simply by regularly changing filters. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, changing filters regularly is the single best way to optimize your heating and cooling system’s energy efficiency.

A dirty filter restricts free airflow, which can cause the system to overheat and turn off before your house reaches the desired temperature. This disrupts home comfort, reduces the efficiency of your HVAC system and can shorten the lifespan of your equipment. All of this translates into more money out of your budget than you need to be spending—simply because of a dirty filter.

  • Indoor Air Quality

As you can imagine, once a filter is clogged, it’s unable to stop particulates from blowing back into the air you and your family breath. Unfiltered air can contribute to allergies and other breathing problems. And all that dust blowing around can make it impossible to keep your house clean.

How Often You Should Change Your Furnace Filter

It would be nice to be able to provide an exact time period or to simply tell you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But the real answer to how often you should change your furnace filter is: it depends.

  • What Type of Filter Are You Using?

The quality of the filter does make a difference. Some filters will last longer and trap more particulates than others. Pleated filters tend to perform better than less expensive fiberglass filters. If you have a less expensive filter, you should check it more often.

  • How Often Does Your HVAC System Run?

If your furnace runs only occasionally, then the filter is going to last longer. It may depend on the season or the climate in which you live. The more your system runs, the more often you’ll want to check and change the filter.

  • Do You Have Pets?

We love our pets, but they do shed hair and dander, which can contribute to allergens for many people. If you have a pet, check your filter often. The more pets you have, the more often you should check and change.

The Real Filter Test: Take a Look

The only way to really know if your filter is ready to change is to pull it out and look at it. If it’s only slightly dusty and you can still see the filter itself under the dust, it’s probably got more life left. If there’s a thick coating of debris and the filter’s holes are blocked, it’s definitely due to be swapped out.

Since so much depends on your unique situation, regularly checking your filters will give you an idea how often your home’s filters need to be changed at any given time of year. Giving yourself a reminder to check the filter on your phone or calendar is a good idea.

Treat Your Furnace to Regular Maintenance

Along with regular home maintenance, you can prolong the life of your heating system with a call to California Energy Services. We offer preventive maintenance plans that will ensure you get the most out of your system while minimizing the need for major or emergency repairs.

Protect your equipment and air quality with regular filter changes, and back those up with a maintenance plan. Contact us or call (916) 737-1107 to learn more today.