Whether you use a furnace (electric or gas) or a heat pump to provide cozy indoor temperatures for your family during the winter, you need to pay attention to an important maintenance task: regularly changing the air filter. A forced-air system like a furnace must draw air from inside the home to heat it and then send it out through the ventilation system. The filter prevents debris that the blower fan will draw in from the rooms from entering into the furnace or heat pump and damaging components. (It isn’t specifically designed to improve air quality, however. You need to install a special set of filters for that.)
Over the winter, as your furnace/heat pump huffs away providing warmth, the filter will start to become clogged. Too much clogging restricts airflow—and that means the heating system will strain harder and start to waste energy. Even worse, the stress on the filter will allow debris to start sneaking in around the side and failing to do its important job.
You Need to Change the Filter… But How Often?
The frequency of filter change depends greatly on the type of filter. An inexpensive panel filter made of fiberglass will usually need to be swapped out for a fresh one every month. A more expensive pleated filter made of polyester will not need to be changed as often: every 3 months is usual.
However, we strongly recommend that you make a monthly check on the filter (slide it out from its slot near where the return air duct connects to the blower) to make sure it isn’t too clogged yet. When you put in a new filter, write the date of the replacement on its side. This will make it easy for you to recall when the filter was last changed, and you can work out a good schedule.
There are also permanent filters that can be cleaned instead of changed, but we don’t recommend these as they are not as effective as the other types.
If you need assistance with your heating system filter or other maintenance tasks, call on Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration for service in Burke, VA.