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What to Do About an Air Filter That's Always DirtyDoes it seem your air filter gets dirty far sooner than it should? In general, an inexpensive fiberglass air filter should last about 30 days, while a better quality, pleated filter made of polyester or cotton fibers should last from 60 to 90 days. But conditions inside your home can have an impact on how long your filter endures. Read on, and learn how you can make your dirty air filter last a little longer.

Filters are designed to keep airborne particulates out of your HVAC system. The more airborne contaminants you have in your home, the dirtier the filters will become as they do their job. Expect your filter to collect more dirt under the following conditions:

  1. The control is set to “on” instead of “auto.” This setting will make the HVAC fan run continuously, although the heating and cooling will still cycle on and off. When the fan is on continuously, the system continues to take in and filter air.
  2. The home has one or more shedding pets. Pet dander and hair will do their part to clog your air filter. Brush pets outdoors; bathe them as often as the vet recommends to minimize dirt, dander and hair in the home. Vacuum regularly, particularly around your return air grilles.
  3. The home has a lot of indoor/outdoor traffic. Whether it’s pets or humans, foot traffic generates dirt in the home. Have people take off their shoes at the door. Vacuum frequently.
  4. Weather extremes prevail. Whether it’s too hot or too cold, your system will run longer and thus intake more dirt and other contaminants.
  5. You’re in the midst of home construction projects. Renovations and similar projects will generate considerable dust, leading to a dirtier filter.
  6. You’re using a better quality filter. These filters are more dense than cheaper filters, and so trap very small particles. If your filter gets dirty too soon, you may want to switch to a less dense filter.

For more on reasons for a dirty air filter, contact Detmer and Sons of Dayton.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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