When it comes to HVAC filter maintenance, the filter is often taken for granted. Each type of air filter has its own expected useful life. This is usually printed on the packaging or available in the owner’s manual. When it comes to changing your whole building HVAC air filter, you should start with the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, this may not be frequent enough if your indoor air is exceptionally dusty or your residents own a lot of pets.
Hazards of Not Changing the HVAC Air Filter Often Enough
Air filters filter all of the air in your multi-unit residential building and in your tenants’ individual apartments or condos. Because of this, they collect dust, dirt, pet hair, dander, pollen and other allergens. If they are not changed frequently enough, they can become clogged, which restricts the amount of air entering your air conditioner or furnace. When the air entering your HVAC unit is restricted, it causes your system to work harder, which results in dramatic increases in your utility bills and more repairs. It can even decrease the useful life of your HVAC unit.
Minimum HVAC Filter Maintenance Schedule
At a minimum, HVAC filters should be changed in the spring after the weather starts to warm and in the fall just as the weather starts to cool. This schedule often aligns with HVAC fall and spring preventive maintenance, which makes it easy to remember. However, this schedule does not take into consideration your indoor and outdoor air pollution levels, how frequently your air conditioner or furnace turns on and the expected life of each filter.
Summer Air Filtration Schedule
Summer in hot, humid and full of grass, tree and plant pollen. Your air conditioner also tends to run more often in the summer than your furnace does in the winter. Every time your air conditioner turns-on, it sucks air through the filter, which means that dust, dander and pollen enter your air filter at an increased rate. Because of this, you should have your maintenance staff regularly inspect and change your building’s HVAC air filter, and you should send reminder memos to your residents to change their air filters. During the summer, you may need to do this every 30 to 45 days.
Winter HVAC Filter Maintenance Schedule
In the winter, there is less pollen and air pollutants in the air. Your furnace may also run less in the winter as compared to your A/C unit the summer. Visual inspections by your maintenance staff can help determine if the filter needs to be changed. Here at Althoff, we recommend changing air filters every 45 to 60 days in the winter in order to maximize air filtration and air flow throughout your HVAC system. You should also have your residents inspect and change their filters regularly during the winter, which can be accomplished with reminder memos.
Getting Help with Your Air Filter Maintenance with Technology Solutions from Althoff
Here at Althoff, our HVAC technicians can help you determine the proper air filter maintenance schedule for your entire building and your individual residential units. We can take into consideration the size of your whole building HVAC unit along with any potential air pollutants and traffic patterns. We can also check to make sure you are using the correct and most efficient filter for your HVAC unit.
In addition to inspecting your HVAC unit and providing recommendations, we can install air pressure sensors around your air filter. Pressure sensors are more accurate than a visual inspection because they can precisely tell you home much air is flowing through your filter at any given time. When the pressure drops to a certain level, it is time to change your air filter.