There’s something your heating/cooling bill isn’t telling you. You are being cheated and practically robbed… by your own home! That may be elaborating a bit but there is an elephant of an issue that needs to be talked about today on our blog: dirty air filters.
WHAT IS AN AIR FILTER AND WHY DO I NEED TO CHANGE IT?
An air filter is a screen-like piece of equipment that sits next to your air conditioner and filters out dust and other particles that circulate in your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system. Over time, your air filter gets dirty – packed with dust bunnies, dirt, and lint that clog your system and make your fan motor work harder and consume more energy. Not only does your system have to work harder, but you have to work harder to pay for extra energy costs (in addition to a number of other downsides, i.e. poor air quality).
One of the QUICKEST ways to save on your energy bill is replacing your air filter. You will see immediate cost savings when you replace your air filter!
HOW MUCH CAN A CLEAN AIR FILTER SAVE ME?
This really depends on where you live and how aggressively you use your system. Experts have estimated an average cost reduction of roughly 10% of your total heating/cooling bill. This percent of savings comes from the actual bills you pay and also the repairs your system will require over time if you continue to use dirty air filters.
WHERE IS MINE LOCATED?
Typically, the air filter can be found next to your air conditioner or furnace. Most homes only have one of these but some homes have two. If you have questions about where your air filter is located, give your energy company a call (Energy Star, etc.).
HOW DO I CHANGE IT?
Most the time, you can pop the grid of your air conditioner and shimmy the air filter out. Once you have the old filter out, simply slide the new filter in. Depending on what kind of equipment you have, the filter should make a “snap” sound once it’s in place. Sometimes you have to shimmy the filter quite a bit to make since it is a snug fit.
WHERE DO I BUY NEW ONES?
Any home store! I have even seen filters at superstores like Walmart. You can save money by buying in bulk on sites like Amazon (if you are into online shopping).
- Make sure you pull out your old filter to measure it before ordering your new filters. Make sure you get the right dimensions! Also, make sure you buy a high efficiency air filter.
- Write the date that you change your filter on a sticky note. Place the sticky note right next to your air conditioner to remind you when it’s time to change it again! Keep extra air filters on hand so you aren’t making a last second run to the store for one (or worse, putting it off for extended periods of time because you don’t have time to go get one).
- Change your filter every 3 MONTHS, at the least! Check your filter every month just to be sure an excessive amount of dirt has accumulated.