As the pandemic continues, it is important to remember how to keep your home safe and free from airborne contaminants. Especially as winter picks up, your already restricted outdoor activities become increasingly sparse as a result of the drop in temperatures. So how do you accomplish ironclad indoor air quality? Just remember this motto: clear filters, full hearts, can’t lose.
Now, you got the full hearts part covered. Your favorite trilogy is queued up, your heated blanket is plugged in, and your favorite hot cocoa mix has taken center stage on your kitchen countertop. But have you addressed the clear filters part yet?
Before you become one with your couch, it is important that you clean your air filters! Without regular maintenance, your indoor air quality will begin to dwindle, and so will the efficiency and effectiveness of your HVAC system. It is recommended that you clean your air filters every three months; otherwise, you’ll be left with high energy bills, inadequate indoor climate control, and compromised air quality. I know you’re eager to ask—how do you clean an air filter?
And that’s where we here at Winters® Home Services come in! CJ here, with a step-by-step guide to cleaning your home’s HVAC filters. It’s going to be a long winter, so it’s best to complete this maintenance before you kick back, relax, and start your movie binge. Here’s how you whip your indoor air quality into shape:
Step One: Turn Off Your HVAC Unit
It is important to shut your heating or cooling off before you begin this process. Removing your air filter while your system is still running will result in unfiltered air circulating throughout your home. If you have a smart thermostat, make sure you check your preprogrammed settings to make sure your system does not accidentally kick-on mid-clean.
Step Two: Locate & Remove The Filter
Once you turn your system off, go to your HVAC unit and with a screwdriver open your appliance and locate your filter or filters. These are usually secured between your ductwork and the body of the unit. Some appliances have more than one vent, so make sure you remove all of the filters in your system.
Step Three: Cleaning Your Air Filter
Now that you have your air filters exposed, it is time to determine if your filters are disposable or permanent. If your filter has a fiberglass frame, you have a permanent filter and you can proceed in with cleaning; however, if your air filter has a cardboard frame, you simply need to replace your air filter with a new, clean one.
For those of you with permanent air filters, it is time to get to the nitty-gritty work—cleaning away any built-up debris and dust. With a hand vacuum, you can easily clear away any particles that are loosely lodged in your filter. However, if your vacuum is not successfully restoring your filter, it will need a deeper cleaning.
In order to better clear your air filter of grime, fill your sink with a fifty-fifty concoction of water and white vinegar. Then place your dirty air filter into the solution and let it soak for about an hour. After the hour is up, take your filter to a separate sink and rinse it with fresh water. Your filter should now be free of any contaminating particles.
Make sure your filter is undoubtedly dry before placing it back into your system to eliminate risks of mold growth. After you are done cleaning your filter or filters, place them back into your unit and you are good to press play on your DVR.
Determining The Need For Replacement
Permanent air filters will not last forever, so it is important to understand when it is time to replace your part. If your air filter has tears, holes, or unforgiving grime, it is damaged beyond repair and will need to be replaced. To prevent air filter deterioration, clean your air filters each month! This will ensure your air filters are not experiencing any unnecessary wear and tear and it will also optimize your heating and cooling efforts.
Monthly cleaning is particularly valued in households where four-legged, furry family members reside, as pet dander and fur easily become airborne and can clog your system. Additionally, those with asthma or allergies will benefit from more regular cleaning as well, as improved indoor air quality only further alleviates irritants from your environment.
Additional Advantages Of Air Filter Cleaning
Lowered Energy Bills
If you have been experiencing higher than normal utility costs, a dirty HVAC filter could be at fault. When your air filters are clogged, your heating and cooling network has to work much harder than it should to circulate your controlled air throughout your space. As a result, your monthly heating and cooling bill can increase by up to 15%. Spending the time to clean your filters will save you from that extra zero at the end of your energy bill.
Increased HVAC System Lifespan
Believe it or not, unmaintained air filters are one of the leading causes of HVAC system breakdowns. As mentioned above, your system has to work overtime when your air filters are blocked by dirt and debris, which consequently leads to an overheated unit. This will cause numerous repairs over the years, as it takes a toll on your system.
If your system is consistently overheating, your entire appliance can become compromised, and you’ll need an entirely new unit. It’s much easier and less expensive to replace or clean an air filter once a month than replacing an entire heating and cooling network!
If you have trouble remembering to replace your air filters each month, or every three months, take out your phone right now! Open your calendar application and set a recurring reminder for air filter replacement! If you are looking for a more integrated reminder system, consider installing a programmable thermostat in your home.
With smart thermostat technology, you won’t have to worry about remembering when it is time to replace your air filters, your thermostat will notify you via an app on your phone! If you are interested in a smart thermostat installation, there are additional benefits that we here at Winters® Home Services can outline for you. From scheduling capabilities to maintenance reminders, your HVAC system will be in capable and proactive hands with this upgrade.
For your home heating and cooling services, from repairs to installations, contact Winters Home Services at (617) 977-3101! We are continuing to practice CDC recommended protocols to ensure that both our technicians and customers stay safe and healthy. Don’t hesitate to reach out this holiday season, we are open and here to optimize your home comfort. When you want same-day service and next-level comfort, Winters® Home Services is your best choice.