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All furnaces, including the advanced ones, need regular maintenance for optimal use. The most effective maintenance practice used by many HVAC experts is a simple change of the furnace filter. This however poses the question, ″how often should you change your furnace filter?″ To answer this, we need to go back to the basics.

Furnaces work by propelling-in heated air around your home during the cold season. By their job description, furnaces encounters lots and lots of impurities in the air such as dust, pollen and in some homes; smog from cigarettes and fur from pets. The furnace filters out such impurities ensuring that you receive warm and clean air.

Over time, these impurities collect behind the furnace blocking the steady free flow of air into your home. As a result, the furnace ends up using more energy in the struggle to ensure constant circulation of warm air in your home. The ripple effect of this is gradual increase of your electric bill. Changing your furnace filter can reduce the air conditioning energy consumption by about 5 to 15 percent. When put to perspective, even a 5% drop in energy consumption could translate to a couple hundred dollars more savings per month. That in itself should be reason enough to take heed of the advice. Still on the need to change your furnace filter regularly; clogged filters push the furnace beyond its functional limit which increases chances of a malfunction. A simple change of filters will save you the cost of having to replace the entire HVAC system.

Since furnaces come in different sizes, the frequency of changing your furnace filter largely depends on the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) set by the manufacturer. The MERV of your furnace is usually engraved on the filter, denoted by the words “MERV” or a single letter “M”. For filters labelled MERV 1-4, check and replace every three months. And for the MERV 5-8 filters, check and replace every one to two months. Those with MERV 8+ need replacement at least once every month.

There also exists factors that may compel you to change your filters more frequently than dictated by the MERV on your furnace. Generally, households that keep pets, those with people who smoke, those living near construction sites or dusty environments as well as those who keep the doors and windows open for most of the day, should change the filter more frequently. This is because the filters are subjected to more air impurities than usual. Additionally, the frequency of changing the furnace filters increases during winter.

In conclusion, regular maintenance of your air conditioning by a HVAC expert should give you a clear picture of how frequent your particular furnace should have a filter change. Also, keep an eye on your electric bill. A sudden hike on the power bill could be an indication of filter blockage that needs immediate attention. To have your furnace filter replaced, talk to our HVAC technicians at Classic Air Conditioning, New Braunfels today!