ecobee Citizen

How and When to Change Your Air Filters

by ecobee on 03/31/2021 in Life & Family

4 min read

ecobee air filter

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Regularly replacing your air filters is important to help extend the life of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. It also improves the air quality in your home and could help you lower your energy consumption costs by an additional 5-15%.* And, luckily, it only takes a few minutes.

When to change your air filters

Filter replacement depends on a variety of factors, including the type of filters you have, if there are pets in the home, if you’re replacing them at your primary residence, and if anyone in the home has allergies.** As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to replace your air filter every three months.

To make life easier and better for homeowners, ecobee’s Smart Thermostat Premium has a built-in indoor air quality monitor that measures the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The concentration of VOCs and CO2 in the indoor environment is an important health consideration that can impact your family’s health. ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium computes an air quality score and sends you alerts when the air quality in your home is very poor so that you can take action – such as replacing your air filter.

With an ecobee smart thermostat, you don’t have to worry about remembering on your own. The ecobee app can automatically remind you to change or clean your air filter, at the frequency of your choice. Simply select Reminders & Alerts from the Main Menu on your thermostat or ecobee app, then select Reminder Preferences and navigate to Furnace Filter. From there, you can choose the frequency and create an alert for cleaning or changing your air filters. You can find more information here.

Generally, a pleated filter should be replaced every three months for optimal performance.

How to change your air filters

A few tips:

  • Never run your HVAC system without an air filter in place.
  • If you don’t know how to turn off your furnace, check the manual.
  • We recommend professional HVAC maintenance twice per year.

To start:

1.) Locate the air filters you want to replace, whether in your furnace, air conditioner, wall or ceiling.

2.) Determine if your filters are reusable or disposable. Reusable filters have a plastic frame and disposable filters usually have a cardboard frame.

3.) If disposable, check the sizes required. The disposable filter’s size should be printed on the side of the cardboard frame. If not, measure it before you buy replacement filters.

Our spring cleaning tips post has more info on how to choose the best filter.

Person changing a disposable filter.

How to change a disposable filter:

1.) To begin, turn off the power to the unit. Check the manual if you’re unsure how.

2.) Open the drawer of the air duct or the cover grille.

3.) Remove the old filter and discard.

4.) If applicable, clean the grille with a microfibre cloth or vacuum brush.

5.) Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing towards the furnace and the direction of the airflow. If it’s inserted the wrong way, the unit will work harder to pull air through the opposing side, using more energy than necessary.

6.) When finished, close the drawer or cover and secure.

Person changing a reusable filter.

How to change a reusable filter:

1.) If your unit has a reusable air filter, start by turning it off and unplugging it.

2.) Remove the front cover and clean the slats with a microfiber cloth or vacuum brush.

3.) Take out the air filter and shake it into a trash can to remove dust and dirt.

4.) Gently wash the filter with soapy water and a microfiber cloth, rinse with clean water, and air dry thoroughly.

5.) Once dry, return the clean filter to the unit and line up the notches inside the filter.

6.) Replace the cover and turn the unit back on.

*Per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

**How often should I change my air filter at home?

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