No summer break for air filter maintenance

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True or false: “During the summer, you don’t have to change the filter in your furnace or air handler.”


Filters have an extremely important role in the proper functioning of your heating and cooling system as well as your home’s air quality. They prevent dust, dirt, pet fur and other debris from being distributed throughout the air breathed by you and your family.

If you have a central air conditioning system, your furnace might not be in operation but the air filter is still doing its job trapping these particles in the summer months. The frequency of changing your furnace or air handler filter is dependent upon the type of air filter you’re using and several variables specific to your home.

So, how do you figure out how often you should change your filter during the summer?

  1. First, determine whether you have a disposable filter or one that can be washed. If yours is made of fiberglass matting, or a pleated paper filter, it’s disposable. If it’s made of plastic or metal or it reads “washable” or “reusable,” it can be cleaned and reinstalled.
  2. In general, furnace or air handler filters should be changed every month if the unit is run daily and every three months, if it’s only used intermittently.
  3. Consider climate conditions (i.e., in the southwestern regions of the U.S., air-born dust is more prevalent and therefore may clog the filter more frequently), the number of occupants in the home, the presence of pets, the frequency that windows are left open and other variables unique to your home. In general, the more pollutants in your home, the more frequently you should check the filter.
  4. Consult your furnace or air handler’s owner’s manual as well as the filter manufacturer packaging for additional recommendations.

Most people find disposable filters with cardboard frames most convenient in their homes. However, if you use reusable air filters, be sure to allow the filter time to dry completely before returning it to the furnace or air handler. has replacement parts and maintenance products for heating and cooling products including furnaces, air handlers, air conditioners, central air conditioners, window and through-the-wall air conditioners and others.

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Have a great remainder of summer!

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