Are you concerned about the air quality in your home? Many homeowners have become more aware that indoor air quality tends to suffer in the summer and that indoor air quality is often much worse than the air quality outside. When it's hot outside, you can't just open your windows to let air in. So, what can you do?
Common indoor air pollutants:
- Pet dander
- Mold and mildew
- Pollen and other allergens
- Cooking exhaust
- Exhaust from other appliances
Your first line of defense against poor indoor air quality is your HVAC system's air filter. Below we go over some of the basics of air filters, how they work, and how often you should change them. We also address the new air filter subscription services we have seen crop up and whether they are worth the cost.
What Do AC Air Filters Do?
Your HVAC filter works to remove pollutants and contaminants from your home's air. When the system is on, the air is pulled through the filter and cleaned before being returned to your home via your ductwork. Air filters come in various sizes and degrees to which they will filter your air. Basic air filters primarily remove larger particles, including dust mite debris, pet dander, dust, and pollen. More sensitive filters can remove everything from dust and lint to smog particles and bacteria.
How Often Should I Replace My Air Filters?
You should replace your HVAC's air filter every 90 days or every three months. For the average home, this is about how long an air filter will effectively filter your home's air before you notice a decline in air quality. However, if you suffer from allergies or have pets, you may want to change your air filter every two months or every month during your worst allergy season.
We are often asked how necessary it is to replace air filters four times a year. Isn't once or twice a year enough? Unfortunately, no. The timely and regular replacement of air filters goes a long way in helping your central air conditioner stay in good condition. In particular, it can help prevent the system from overheating and improve energy efficiency. Regularly replacing your air filters can also improve the overall air quality in your home and reduce dust.
What Type of Air Filter Do I Need?
Determining the type of air filter you need is as simple as looking at the one already in your system. On the side of the air filter, you will find the brand, size, and usually, the filter model listed. If you are happy with the filter's performance, you can just replace it with a new one of the same type.
The cost of your air filter will depend on the size and degree of filtration. Basic air filters can be purchased in a 3-pack for around $12, while more sensitive filters cost over $50. If you aren't sure what type of filter you need or if you need help selecting a new type that will better suit your needs, call Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for guidance.
Can Air Filters Help Mitigate My Allergies?
Yes, a good quality air filter that is changed regularly can help reduce your allergy symptoms. However, if you have severe allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues, you may find that your built-in HVAC air filter is not enough. In these situations, you may wish to install an air cleaner or purification system. Several different types of air filtration and air treatment systems can improve indoor air quality and reduce allergy symptoms.
Air treatment systems to consider include:
- Humidifiers and dehumidifiers
- Air cleaners and purifiers
- HEPA filtration systems
- UV air purifiers
- Energy recovery ventilators
If you suffer from allergies or are looking for a way to improve your home's air quality, give us a call. We can help you identify what type of system is right for you.
Are AC Air Filter Subscriptions Worth It?
Now that you understand how your HVAC system's air filter works and why it's important to replace them regularly, we can return to our original question: are air filter subscription services worth it? Generally, our answer is that it depends on your habits and your needs. If you are good about remembering to replace air filters on your own, then no, we do not think that an air filter subscription service is worth it.
The primary selling point of these subscription services is convenience. Typically, the cost of the air filters offered in these services is somewhat inflated (you often pay a convenience fee and a shipping fee). However, if you struggle to remember to replace your filters or lead a busy life where getting to the hardware store to buy replacement filters is a hassle, it may be worth it.
Ultimately, we recommend you do your research before signing up for an AC filter subscription service. Look at how much the filters cost to replace on your own vs. what they cost with the subscription. Also consider your schedule and lifestyle.