As the temperatures continue to get colder as we inch closer into winter, heating bills start to skyrocket. Instead of wearing layers in your own home or spending an arm and a leg each month, an easy way to cut back on your heating bill is to make sure your furnace is working properly.
One important way to keep your furnace or air conditioner running smoothly is to make sure the filter is clean. Experts recommend that you change your filters every one to six months. Filters can get expensive, and changing them on the recommended schedule can really add up! The reason for the discrepancy is that there are a lot of factors that go into the life of a filter, and knowing these factors can help you extend its life.
First of all, the more a furnace or air conditioner is used, the faster the filter gets filled up. One easy way to extend its life is to use the furnace or air conditioner less. This means turning the heat down a couple degrees in winter, and turning the air conditioner up a couple degrees in summer, so it works less often. On spring and fall days, set it so it doesn’t run at all. This will not only save on wear and tear, but also on energy, which saves you even more.
Clear the Air
Second, the filter will be more likely to clog if there’s excess dust in the air in your house. To help reduce dust levels, you can use microfiber cloths and vacuum cleaners with good filters to actually trap the dust, not just move it around. In addition to the benefit of changing filters less, anyone susceptible to dust allergies will have fewer irritants in the air and will breathe easier.
Some thermostats will remind you to check the filter but these reminders are usually based on hours that the air handler is running. It’s a good idea to check the filter when the reminder pops up, but if it’s not ready to be changed, then don’t change it! The filter is ready to be changed when it looks dusty and gray. If your filter is still white or mostly white, then feel free to leave it in for another month and check it again.
Consider Your Options
When it is time to buy a new filter, you have some options to save. First of all, it’s smart to stock up on filters when they’re on sale – they won’t go bad. Compare prices at various hardware stores, discount chains and online retailers. You are generally better off getting one with a higher MERV rating than a really cheap filter, just because the cheap ones won’t catch as much dust and allow more dust into your furnace. Finally, you may consider getting a reusable filter. You’ll have to make an initial investment, but instead of replacing and throwing away each filter, you simply wash it out. Over the long run, you will save money, time and energy shopping for new filters.
Post contributed by Bekah Jorgensen of Motherhood Moment.