When it comes to home maintenance, changing the filter in your HVAC system is one of the most important things you can do to protect your investment. Installing a new one every month during the peak season of winter and summer will keep the system running efficiently. A dirty filter can add 5 to 15% more energy usage on to your power bill. If a filter is clogged or dirty it blocks airflow and obviously reduces the quality of air running through your system and into your house. Dirt can be carried right into the evaporator coil and negatively impact the evaporator coils heat absorbing capacity.
Some filters are washable, if yours are, then be sure to wash them once a month. Look for the MERV rating on your filter. This is the filters minimum efficiency reporting value. It falls in between 1 to 12 for home AC units. The higher number, the higher the level of filtration is being provided. Keep in mind though, the better the filtration, the more energy needed to pull air through it so consider energy costs.
If you have a central AC you will find your filter is normally located along the return duct length. In the house, filter locations will be in walls, furnaces, ceilings or even in the AC itself. Filters can be mounted in a grill facing into a room.
Filters are quite inexpensive and some are reusable. It is easy to find them at most hardware stores and will fit easily into a household budget. Remember, if you live in a dusty area or have inside pets your filters will get dirty faster. If family members suffer from allergies, changing your filter frequently can ease their symptoms.