Q+A: How often should I change my air filters?

When we posted to Facebook a list of 20+ ways to save energy and money while staying cool during this hot summer, we got a question: “How often should I change my filters?”

Here’s a response, courtesy of Guy Caroselli, LEAP’s Senior Technical Advisor and Trainer:

The filter keeps particles (some visible and some not) from getting into the motor.  A dirty filter will reduce airflow which causes the system to run less efficiently and can lead to equipment damage. Changing air filters can be done generally twice a year, but keep the following in mind:

— If someone in your home has health concerns (asthma, allergies, etc), you might want to change them more frequently

— If you have high levels of allergens or irritants (dust, dander, etc), you might want to change them more frequently

— Make sure the filter is the correct MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating for the air moving through the air handler.

— Don’t switch between flat and pleated filters.  Ask your technician to check that your system is set properly for the filter you want to use regularly.

Here are some more useful tips from ENERGY STAR® on how to heat and cool your home efficiently (note that they recommend changing the air filters more often; we’ve found that at least twice a year is sufficient, especially as the cost of a high MERV filter can run $20).

Have questions for us? Post them on Facebook or Twitter or email us at info@leap-va.org.