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Should I Change My Furnace Filter Before Winter?

The average homeowner spends more than $2,200 on utilities each year and a large part of that bill comes from heating their homes during the winter.

HVAC system tune-ups can help you lower your costs and keep your system in good shape, but that’s not the only thing you need to do.

In fact, your repair technician will likely suggest that you replace your furnace filter before the cold weather kicks in.

So, should you? The answer is always “yes.” Check out the reasons why below and learn what you need to know before winter comes!

Why You Should Change Your Furnace Filter

Your furnace filter helps remove unwanted contaminants from the air that your furnace heats and sends out to your home. This means it will get clogged and when that happens, changing it is your only option.

Changing your filter before winter is in full swing ensures that your home’s heating system is ready for the drop in temperatures.

There’s more to it than that. Changing your filter also benefits your home.

Lowers Your Energy Bills

When filters are clean, air can move through them easily. This allows your heating system to run more efficiently, keeping your energy costs down.

Dirty and clogged filters make it harder for your furnace to force air through the filter. The heated air has to get forced through the dust and debris. This puts a strain on your system and makes it work harder than it should just to get your home close to your preferred temperature.

Over the course of the winter, this process will use significantly more energy and will cause your bills to skyrocket the worse it gets. Replacing a dirty filter will allow air to flow easily, saving you money and keeping your energy bills lower.

Reduces the Risk of Unexpected Repairs

Clogged air filters make your furnace work harder. This puts stress on the components which increases the amount of wear and tear those components experience during the course of the winter.

When you replace dirty filters with clean ones, your system won’t have to work as hard. Over time, the components will last longer and require fewer repairs, helping you save money and prevent unexpected breakdowns.

Improves Indoor Air Quality

During the winter, you take care to block out drafts and keep the windows sealed tight. This helps keep your home warmer.

Since your home’s furnace likely doesn’t draw air in from outside the house before it heats it up, the same air just keeps getting circulated over and over again.

The filter catches much of the dust, dirt, and allergens in that air, but once it gets dirty, it won’t be as effective. This hurts your home’s indoor air quality and increases the risk of allergies and upper respiratory discomfort for you and your family.

When you replace the filters, you’ll help keep your home’s indoor air quality as fresh and clean as possible.

How Often Should You Change It?

Even if you change your furnace’s air filter at the beginning of the season, you’ll still need to inspect it throughout the winter. Otherwise, you may end up with a clogged filter that causes you problems.

How often should you change it? The answer depends on your home and your needs.

Every Three Months

For most homeowners, changing the filter out every three months will be enough to keep the furnace working properly. That said, if you or anyone in your household has severe allergies or upper respiratory conditions like asthma, you may need to replace the filter more often.

Some homeowners need to replace their air filters once a month, especially if they’re using the furnace heavily. The best thing you can do is inspect your filter once a month and monitor it for clogs and buildup. Once you notice dust or dirt collecting on the filter, replace it with a new one.

If your filters are getting dirty more quickly than you want them to, you may want to schedule an inspection with your HVAC technician. There could be an issue with the furnace that’s making it run dirtier than it should.

If There’s a Strange Smell

Your furnace actively sends out hot air to the rest of your house. This is how it heats your home and keeps things comfortable.

That also means that the filter gets exposed to that heat.

If you notice a strange smell coming from your heat vents, you may want to replace the filter. Depending on how high the furnace is set, the dust and debris in the filter may heat up. When this happens, it can cause a strange or off-putting smell throughout your home.

If the replacement filter doesn’t get rid of the smell, you’ll need to speak with your HVAC technician.

You Notice Energy Bills Going Up

Take a look at your energy bills from the previous winters. This will give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay to heat your home.

Use this as a baseline. If you notice your energy bills going up without reason, replace your filter.

Remember, the dirtier your filter is, the more energy your furnace needs to heat your home. Ideally, replacing the filter will let your system work like normal. If you still notice higher-than-normal energy bills, get the system inspected.

Replace Your Filter Now

Replacing your furnace filter before winter is in full swing is a great way to give your system a helping hand. It will make your heating system more efficient and can save you money in the long-run.

Even better, it’s a task that you can handle on your own without having to call your HVAC technician. You just need to have the right filter on hand.

Order your furnace filters today and get your furnace ready for the changing seasons!

4 thoughts on “Should I Change My Furnace Filter Before Winter?”

    • Hey Robert! There should be arrows on the side of the filter that point in the direction of the airflow from the intake into the furnace.

  1. We have furnace filters that are supposed to be good for six months. I’m suppose to change mine on January 1 st. Are the filters I purchased from you really good for 6 months?

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