7 Benefits of Changing Your HVAC Air Filters

Senior Man Changing a Dirty Air Filter in a HVAC Furnace

Changing your HVAC system’s air filter is one of the simplest forms of maintenance a homeowner can perform. It has a multitude of benefits, such as energy efficiency and better temperature control, and is easier than you might think. Even if you don’t suspect it needs to be changed, doing so every so often can make a big difference. Read below for 7 benefits of changing your HVAC air filters.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Benefits of Changing Your HVAC Air Filters
    • 1. Air Quality
    • 2. Energy Efficiency
    • 3. Health
    • 4. Longevity
    • 5. Temperature Control
    • 6. Prevent Mold
    • 7. Safety
  • FAQ About HVAC Air Filters
  • Don’t Forget the Filter

Benefits of Changing Your HVAC Air Filters

The filters for your HVAC system keep your home air clean and free of harmful debris and allergens. You may have them in the unit itself, in a supply vent, or both, and it’s important to change any of them on a regular basis. Doing so carries benefits like better temperature control and increased lifespan for your system, among others.

1. Air Quality

If your HVAC’s air filter is dirty, it can’t do its job effectively. Each filter has a certain capacity for how much debris and contaminants they can trap. Once it reaches it, the filter becomes clogged, and those pollutants will stay in the air and then blow back into your home. Changing the air filter regularly will help improve indoor air quality and keep it clean.

2. Energy Efficiency

When your HVAC air filter is dirty, it has to work harder to condition your air. That means it uses more power, which will cost you more money. Replacing it with a clean air filter can make your HVAC system more efficient and lead to a lower energy bill. 

In addition to lower energy costs, an HVAC that’s energy efficient has less of an impact on the environment. Unless you have solar power, using more electricity means emitting more emissions and greenhouse gasses. Changing your conditioning system’s air filters can help lower your carbon footprint.

3. Health

Homes with poor indoor air quality aren’t just unpleasant; for some, they can be dangerous. People with allergies can suffer reactions from dust, pollen, or dander that dirty filters don’t pick up. Those with asthma may find their symptoms worsened or have more attacks due to poor indoor air quality.

There could also be long-term health effects of living in a house with poor indoor air quality if it’s allowed to go on for too long. According to the EPA, poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of health issues, such as flu-like symptoms, respiratory disease, and even cancer. These may be extreme cases, but it’s still a very good reason to change clogged filters and keep your indoor air quality up.

4. Longevity

Changing your HVAC’s air filter does more than keep it energy-efficient; it also increases its lifespan. An air conditioning system that has to work harder will wear out faster than one that doesn’t have to work as hard. An HVAC is expensive to replace, and even if it’s only a marginal difference, you still don’t want to replace it any sooner than you have to.

This applies to the short term as well as long term. Individual parts will wear out alongside the system as a whole, so if you don’t change your HVAC’s air filter regularly, you may find yourself having to make repairs or replacements that much sooner. For example, if the filter is dirty, it restricts the flow of warm air in your HVAC, which can eventually cause your condenser coils to freeze.

5. Temperature Control

Another benefit of changing your HVAC’s air filters regularly is better temperature control. Since air can’t pass through dirty filters as effectively, it’s harder for the HVAC to cool or heat your home. Changing the filters makes it easier for the cooling system to control the temperature in your home, which makes you more comfortable and helps keep your HVAC efficient.

6. Prevent Mold

When it comes to your HVAC system, the last thing you want to find is mold. The filters remove mold spores from the indoor air, which prevents mold growth. If it gets too dirty, those spores can take root in your air ducts and lead to harmful mold and mildew. The filter itself may even harbor growth if it’s exposed to moisture or too much humidity. Therefore, if you want to prevent mold from growing in your ducts or HVAC, a good step is to change the filter.

7. Safety

Lastly, a big reason to change the filter in your HVAC system is safety; specifically, fire safety. When the filter is too dirty and the airflow gets restricted, the air flowing through your HVAC may get redirected. This can cause some parts of the system to overheat, and eventually ignite some form of flammable debris, which can lead to a fire in your home. The filter itself also becomes a fire hazard if it’s allowed to accumulate too much flammable buildup.

If the dirty air filter undergoes too much strain, it can even collapse and get sucked into the blower’s motor. If that happens, it can disrupt your HVAC system or clog and damage the motor, and becomes an additional fire hazard. You should change the furnace filter in your HVAC system on a regular basis to prevent these kinds of situations from happening.

FAQ About HVAC Air Filters

How often should I change my HVAC’s air filter?

A good rule of thumb is to change the air filter every 90 days, or 3 months. However, different houses will have different needs. Certain factors may make more frequent changes a necessity, such as pet dander or living in a dusty, dry area.

Can I change my HVAC’s air filter myself?

Yes. Unlike most other forms of HVAC maintenance, filter changes shouldn’t require a hired professional. You just have to turn off the system, open the panel, swap it out, close it up, and restart the HVAC unit.

Does it matter what kind of HVAC air filter I use?

It might seem like it doesn’t make a difference which kind of filter you use at first, but you should take care when picking one out. The different filter types have different MERV ratings, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Different kinds will also be suitable for different houses, such as filters designed for pet dander, or people with allergies.

Don’t Forget the Filter

Regularly changing your HVAC air filters can only benefit you. Set up a schedule with reminders so that you can keep track of when you’ve last changed it and when you need to do it again. If you need service for your air conditioning system, contact your local HVAC professionals.

Main Photo Credit: Backyard Productions / Canva Pro / License

Austin Geiger

Austin Geiger is a writer who's passionate about home care. He enjoys writing about home maintenance practices, as well as projects to turn an outdoor space into a backyard paradise.