Can You Extend the Lifespan of an HVAC Air Filter? I IT Landes
Can You Extend The Life Of Your HVAC Filters?

HVAC filters prevent dirt, debris, and larger objects from entering your heating and cooling equipment and causing damage to their internal components. In addition, one of the best ways to protect and improve the air quality in your Harleysville, PA home is by regularly changing your HVAC air filters. However, the cost of replacing filters can add up. If you’re looking for a way to extend the lifespan of your HVAC air filters, read on to find out what does and doesn’t work.

Monthly Inspections

According to most HVAC equipment manufacturers, you should replace your HVAC air filters every 30 to 90 days. However, this is a guideline, and you may need to change your filters more or less often. Several factors can affect how fast your filters get dirty, so it is essential to inspect them monthly. During extreme hot or cold weather, your HVAC system will run a lot, and you may need to change your filters more often than recommended.

In addition, during the winter holidays or at other festive times, you may host guests or have a family member who returns from college, which may also decrease the lifespan of filters. This is because more people walking in and out of your doors increases the amount of dirt and contaminants in your home, causing filters to become clogged quicker than usual.

Alternatively, during milder spring and fall weather and when you do not have as many people in your home, your filters will have a longer lifespan before they need replacement. Monthly HVAC filter inspections allow you to be flexible about how often you change your filters based on their condition. During less demanding times of the year, this allows you to decrease how often you change filters, which can save you some money.

How Dirty Is Too Dirty for HVAC Filters?

If you’re tired of paying for air filters, you might be tempted to find out how long you can make them last. Simply adjusting the frequency of changing them is the easiest way to limit your spending on these products. However, reducing change-out times is not without its drawbacks. In fact, in some cases, this is the least cost-effective measure that homeowners can employ and has some consequences.

Even slightly delayed filter changes can have a devastating impact on indoor air quality. This is especially concerning if you have family members who suffer from respiratory issues. Leaving filters in place once they have reached their useful lifespan limits their ability to capture dust mites, pollen, and other contaminants. These airborne pollutants can aggravate the symptoms of asthma and allergies.

Dirty filters can also undermine the performance of heating and cooling equipment and increase overall energy use. Leaving your filters in longer could result in higher home energy bills, costly and recurring repair issues, and shorter lifespans for your heater and air conditioner. In general, limiting the frequency of filter changes is not a good strategy to increase their lifespans.

One easy way to assess the continued viability of a used filter is by holding it up to the light. If light from an overhead fixture can still pass through your HVAC air filter’s mesh, there’s a good chance that air can still move through it and can still capture airborne contaminants. If you have more questions about your heating and cooling, we are your team to contact!

Be Mindful of Your HVAC Manufacturer Warranties and Their Filter Requirements

Another reason reducing the frequency of filter changes is not the best idea is that it can affect your warranty. It’s important to read through your HVAC equipment manufacturer’s warranties. These mutually binding agreements establish what manufacturers will do for consumers in the event of equipment malfunction or failure resulting from defective materials or substandard workmanship.

Warranty documents also outline the steps that homeowners must take to maintain their warranty protections. These typically include scheduling preventative maintenance at least once yearly and changing HVAC air filters on a set schedule. If your HVAC system breaks down due to a filter-related airflow obstruction, your warranty claims could be denied.

Vacuuming Your HVAC Air Filters Won’t Work

While vacuuming dirty air filters will lift off thick, lint-like mats of debris that have built up on their surfaces, many of the allergens and contaminants that filters collect will remain deeply buried within their fibers. Although freshly vacuumed filters can look clean, they’re still rife with debris, and they will negatively impact your IAQ and airflow within your HVAC system.

A Cleaner Home Can Extend Filter Lifespans

While cleaning disposable air filters is not a viable option, one safe and effective way to extend a HVAC filter’s lifespan is by limiting the amount of particulate matter that it’s exposed to. For instance, you can try grooming your pets more often and outside, vacuuming your floors and upholstery with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, and dusting your overhead fan blades. You can also:

  • Clean your bathroom exhaust fans and range hood vent
  • Have your dryer vent cleaned
  • Wipe down your HVAC air vents and air registers

In addition, ensuring that the area around outdoor HVAC equipment is clear can increase the service life of your air filters. Parts of leaves and other debris can get sucked into your heating and cooling units and end up in your filters. HVAC professionals recommend keeping the ground clear in at least a 2-foot perimeter around your outdoor equipment.

Electrostatic Filters

While low in cost and generally easy to acquire, standard air filters have limited filtration capabilities and very basic designs. These filters are largely intended to protect heaters and air conditioners rather than human occupants and indoor air quality. Upgrading your air filters is an excellent choice for longer filter lifespans and a healthier living environment. While inexpensive fiberglass filters typically reach their lifespans within 30 to 60 days, some high-quality electrostatic filters can last up to five years.

The downside is that the initial cost of electrostatic filters is more than the fiberglass kind, and you must clean them regularly. They are composed of vented metal layers that become charged as air flows through them. The static electricity attracts particles, holding them within the filter and preventing them from getting into your HVAC equipment and recirculating throughout your living spaces.

In general, they need to be removed and cleaned once a month. Most homeowners take them outside and spray them down with a garden house to wash them. If you choose to use electrostatic filters, you must also give them a deep cleaning a few times a year. This can be easily accomplished with a mild dishwashing soap and water solution and does not require expensive specialty cleaning products.

Air Purifiers

Several HVAC accessories can improve your indoor air quality and extend the lifespans of your air filters. These include whole-house air filters, air scrubbers, and media filters. Additions like these capture airborne contaminates that would otherwise end up in your HVAC filters. They also eliminate more dust, dander, pollen, and other particulate debris than standard HVAC air filters can on their own.

Contact the Professionals

We’re proud to serve Harleysville, PA, and the surrounding communities. We offer top-notch heating, cooling, and plumbing services. We also provide indoor air quality solutions and preventative maintenance plans. Contact IT Landes to make an appointment with one of our expert HVAC technicians today.

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