Staying cool in Florida can seem like a full-time job. Even in the Fall, the weather can still have temperatures reaching 90 degrees. And, temperatures will routinely reach the 80’s through the rest of the fall, and even on into winter, you will experience heat and humidity. Staying cool is a battle we all face here in the Sunshine State!
We recently covered an article entitled “5 Tips To Keep Your HVAC System Running Strong” that covered some general tips on managing your AC system. Next, we are focusing on the first tip that was discussed in that post, “Change The Filters Monthly.” Changing air filters is vital for all HVAC systems regardless of where you live. However, in Florida, it is even more important and vital to keeping your AC running cool year-round.
Air Filters Function
All air in an HVAC system passes through the air filter. The Air Filter is the gatekeeper to the air that cools your home and the air you breathe in your home. the air filter functions to collect pollutants and particles, such as dust, mold, pet dander, and fungal spores. The mesh in the air filter catches these particles from entering your HVAC equipment and home.
The benefit of air filters often presented to homeowners is that they help eliminate allergens and improve air quality. However, the main function of air filters is not about air quality. The main function of air filters is actually to protect your HVAC equipment from those harmful airborne contaminants that can cause damage to your HVAC system, limit its effectiveness, or cause it to fail.
Yes, a dirty air filter will negatively impact the air quality in your home. Anything being dirty in your home will also affect the air quality in your home. However, the main function of the air filter is to protect your HVAC system. Without an air filter, you’d likely be replacing your entire HVAC system in Florida frequently. Or, without an air filter, at the very least, you’d rack of expensive repair charges far greater than the cost of even the fanciest high-tech air filter on the market would cost you.
Why You Need To Change Your Air Filter
The air filter’s job is to collect all the junk that tries to pass through your HVAC system. It is collecting those particles and pollutants. Eventually, those particles build up and start to block airflow. When the airflow becomes limited, your HVAC system has to work much harder to maintain the desired temperature. Often, with a dirty air filter, your system will fail to reach a cool temperature.
When your HVAC system is presented with the stress of a dirty air filter, the likelihood of it breaking down greatly increases. The blockage of airflow caused by a dirty filter will also cause it to overheat. It’s an issue known as “short cycling,” which can lead to your entire system failing. Furthermore, the clogged filters can lead to a condensation build-up that can spill into the surrounding areas around your HVAC equipment. The condensation can cause water damage and increase the humidity in the home.
Neglect of changing the air filter, which is relatively inexpensive, will lead to hefty repair needs. And, if you thought the kids leaving the door open ran up your electric bill, wait until you see what a dirty air filter does to your checking account!
How Frequently To Change Your Air Filters
If you google how often to change your HVAC air filter, or read the manual that came with your HVAC system, you’ll likely see the generic recommendation of 90 days. This has essentially been the same recommendation since the invention of air filters. (CLICK HERE to learn about the history of HVAC Systems). When we googled it, four of the first six results said 90 days, one said 6 months, and one said every month. All of these are good suggestions, or awful suggestions, depending on where you live and how you live.
There are several factors that determine how frequently you should change your air filters. While 90 days is the longest you’d want to go between air filter changes, regardless of where you live, there are factors that should lead you to change your filters monthly.
3 Factors For Changing Your HVAC Filter Every Month
While this is not an exhaustive list, if you have any of these three factors, you will want to change your air filter every month. And, if you have more than one of these factors and have not been changing your air filter monthly, you’ll want to have your system checked by a professional soon.
You Have Pets
If you have pets, you will want to change your air filters each month. Pets will introduce more dander, dust, and fur into the air of your home. These elements find their way into your HVAC system and get stopped by your air filter. They tend to build up quicker than other particles on air filters, causing the need to change the air filter more frequently.
You Have A Large Household
If you have several people living in your home, the odds are that you are putting a greater demand on your HVAC system. And, more people means a greater introduction of particulars and contaminants that will find their way into your HVAC system and will be stopped by your air filter.
Also, in the COVID-19 age, many people are finding themselves working from home or spending considerately more time at home. This also increases the workload for your air filter. With this factor alone, you’d need to change your air filter more than you previously did. If you also have several people living in your home, you will need to be changing your air filter every month.
You Live In Florida
There are few places in the world in which homeowners put a bigger demand on their HVAC units than we do in Florida. Many Floridians run their AC 24/7 for large portions of the year. And, from late Fall to early Spring, it’s not uncommon to be running the AC all day, then running the Heat all night. The more your HVAC system is running at full capacity, the quicker your air filter will need to be replaced.
If you live in Florida, you MUST CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER MONTHLY IN THE SUMMER. Depending on other factors, while we recommend changing your air filters monthly year-round, you might be able to get away with changing your air filter less frequently. But, from around April through September in Florida, you need to change your air filter monthly.
While we focus on our home state of Florida, any location in which the weather dictates a bigger demand on your HVAC system, changing your air filter once per month is a good idea. If you’re out where it is hot (and a bit dusty) like western Texas or Arizona, you’ll want to change your air filter monthly. Similarly, if you live way up north in cold weather and you run your heat just as much as we run our AC down south, you will want to change your air filter monthly.
Change Your Air Filter Monthly
Change your air filters every month. Better safe than sorry. The only downside to changing your air filter monthly is the 2-3 minutes it takes to do so, and the cost. However, a quality 1-inch thick air filter (we recommend 1-inch), if you buy 12 of them in bulk for the year, will cost you around $75-$200, depending on the filter and what deals you can find. That $150 you spend on air filters for the year will save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars on HVAC system repairs and will keep your system running for years longer than it would if you changed the filters less frequently.
While we know that you change your air filters every month means you’ll be much less likely to ever have to call us for an HVAC repair, we’d rather you change those filters and keep your family cool year-round!