The Importance of Changing Your Home’s Air Filters

by | Mar 24, 2020

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One thing in life even more essential than a roof over your head is clean air to breathe. That’s why most homes have a built-in HVAC system – that stands for “heating, ventilation and air conditioning” – with an air filter to keep all the dust, pollen and other nasties from circulating through your home.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably haven’t thought about your filter in a while. Turns out over 50% of homeowners have HVAC filters that are old, dirty and need to be replaced, while 30% of homeowners have never changed their air filters at all. Fortunately, it’s a simple job to do yourself, with no special tools required.

To help you get started, we asked the Hippo Home Care Pros for their best tips on keeping a home HVAC system in tip-top shape.

This dedicated team of highly-trained Home Pros has performed thousands of HVAC filter changes, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about the subject. Below, we’ve compiled their best advice to help you keep cool (or warm), stay healthy, and breathe easy.

The Hippo Home Care Pros Say:

Clean air filters provide clean air, which is clearly good for the health of everyone in the home. Plus, removing dirty HVAC filters twice a year can help prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system, help it heat and cool properly, and maintain proper airflow throughout your home.

How to Clean Your Home Air Filter HVAC System

First, look for your air intake. While no two homes are exactly alike, you can often find the air intake behind a large, square grate inside the house, usually in a central location like a hallway or entryway. Make sure to look on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep in mind that your house may have one or multiple air intakes – in some homes, the heating intake is on the ceiling and the cooling intake is closer to the floor to reduce energy costs.

Step 1: Clean the Air Intake Grate

After you locate your air intake(s), find your electrical breaker box and turn off your HVAC system. This will keep you from being electrocuted in the event of a shortage.
Next, remove the air intake grate from the ceiling or the wall. Depending on the size, you may be able to clean it in your sink with dish soap. If it is too large to clean in the sink, bring it into the shower or outside and give it a deep cleaning with dish soap. (Dish soap should do the trick, no need for a stronger cleanser.)

Step 2: Inspect the Ductwork

After you’ve cleaned the intake, remove and discard the old filter. Be careful when you take it out, as dust will fall off if it is bumped or dropped on the floor. If you’re allergic to dust, it’s a good idea to wear gloves and a facemask during this process.

Once the old filter is gone, you’ll be able to see the inside of the intake ductwork. Check for dust and debris, which would indicate that dust passed through the filter system and the ductwork will need professional cleaning.

Step 3: Replace the Filter

If the inside of the duct is clean and dust-free, go ahead and replace the filter. Follow the markings on the side of the filter to make sure it’s facing the right direction. If you don’t have a new filter on hand, you can get a free HVAC filter from our partners at Second Nature, where you can also learn about different types of filters that might be right for your home. You can also pick up a new filter at most home supply and hardware stores.

Step 4: Make a Schedule

Once you install the new filter, reinstall your air intake grate and turn the power back on to the HVAC system, you’re all set. Now all you need to do is set a reminder to repeat this process as needed or at least once every 3-6 months. Calendar reminders work great or you can set up automatic filter deliveries from Second Nature to make sure you have the supplies on hand.
And that’s all there is to it. With a little preventative maintenance, it’s easy to keep your home clean and running smoothly.

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