Winter Is Coming. Is Your Home Ready?

As winter approaches, homeowners in Billings are gearing up for colder weather. Along with preparing your home for winter, you should also take time to ensure your furnace HVAC system is ready for the cold weather that is to come.

There is nothing exciting about furnace filters, but choosing the right furnace filter for your needs is very, very important to the air quality and comfort within your home. 

While you know that your furnace is a vital part of your home, did you know that your furnace filter plays a crucial role in your home’s overall comfort? Your home’s air filter (in this case the furnace filter) offer many benefits, including:

  • Better System Performance: Air flows through your furnace filter before the furnace HVAC unit warms it. This means that a dirty furnace filter makes it harder for the system to move air, putting additional stress on the HVAC system. Changing your furnace filter regularly during cold weather means that your HVAC unit will last longer and pass warm air throughout your home more comfortable.
  • Energy Efficient: As mentioned above, air must pass through your air filter before entering the HVAC system. If your furnace filter is dirty or clogged, the system will have difficulty drawing air into the HVAC system. As a result, a dirty furnace filter will result in higher energy bills throughout the winter months.
  • Improved Comfort: If a dirty or clogged filter is not changed, it will restrict the warm air circulating your home. Not only will this put extra strain on your HVAC system, but it will also reduce the effectiveness of your home’s heating system, and your family could feel cooler temperatures around your home.
  • Improved Air Quality: A clean furnace filter removes airborne particles from circulating your home. The filter will not pull contaminants from the air before it circulates through the HVAC system, resulting in low indoor air quality.

Owning your home comes with many tasks and responsibilities to maintain your property. One of these chores is having to remember to take care of your home’s furnace and furnace filters throughout the year.

To help make this task a bit easier, we put together some of the most important questions and answers about your home furnace filters. After talking with countless homeowners just like you, we put together a few points that you can use as a rule of thumb when figuring out your air filter needs!

Take a look through these questions to understand how to maintain your furnace filter and keep your home safer and more comfortable this winter!


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How Can I Tell When I Need To Change My Furnace Filter?

Your furnace filter is vital in keeping your home’s air clean and warm for your family. The air in your home is pulled into the return ductwork and then passed through your furnace to be heated before pumped back into your home.

Since the air passes through your air filter before it is processed in the furnace components, your filter can capture pollutants that cause various issues for people inside your home.


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You should check your furnace filter if you are worried about keeping your home cleaner, warmer, and reducing your energy bills. Here are some of the tall-tell signs that you should change your furnace filter:

  1. Change In Filter Color: You can look at your home air filter to see if it is noticeably gray and notice lots of dust on the filter.
  2. See More Dust Around Your House: It may be time to change your furnace filter if you notice more dust around your home than usual. This is because the filter is not collecting dust and passing it through your air system.
  3. Your HVAC System Is Cycling Longer: If you have a dearth home air filter, your HVAC system and furnace will cycle more frequently and more extended. It could be time to change your home’s furnace filter if your system cycles longer than usual.
  4. Your Home Is Not Warm Enough: A dirty furnace filter will lead to the HVAC unit’s reduced heating capabilities. If you notice that your home is colder than you’d like, you should check the furnace filter to see if the filter is dirty and should be replaced.
  5. More Sneezing: If your family is sneezing more then your air filters could need to be changed. This is because your furnace filters trap unwanted pet hair, dust, and allergens. If your family is sensitive to airborne particles and you notice people are sneezing more than usual, it could be time to check that your air filter is working properly.

How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

Knowing when to change your home air filter can be tricky because you need to consider a number of variables. Your home is different from your neighbor’s house, and your family’s needs are likely much further, so you will need to change your furnace filter after considering variables that impact your home’s indoor air quality and comfort.

If you have pets in your home, then you may need to change your home air filter more frequently since dogs and cats product pet dander, dust, and loose fur can get caught in your filter. In situations where pets are in a home, our HVAC experts recommend changing your filter more so you should consider changer your filter every 60-90 days.

If you have an older furnace, then you will need to change your furnace filter more often to reduce the stress placed on your HVAC system. Older furnaces likely have components that have been under lots of wear and tear, and this means that you should reduce the pressure placed on your furnace.

If your family members are sensitive to allergens, then you should think about changing your furnace filter frequently. In addition to using a HEPA filter, replacing a clogged and dirty filter with a clean filter can significantly impact your home’s indoor air quality.

As you can see, there are quite a few factors that you should consider when deciding if it’s time to change your furnace filter. Be sure to check the filter every few months, and you can always give out team a call at (406) 655-9700 to talk with an HVAC expert and walk through your home’s specific needs!

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How Long Do Furnace Filters Last?

It should be said right away that your furnace filter’s lifespan will vary based on the type of furnace you use, the type of furnace filter you choose, and your indoor air quality needs. It may be a good idea to consult with a local HVAC specialist f you are not sure about your specific needs.

As we looked at the above section, some filters are reusable, while others are lower prices and won’t last as long as. However, as a general rule, your furnace filter will last for 3-6 months before changing.

The size of the furnace filter that you have can also impact how long your air filter will last between filter changes. Here are some general outlines to consider:

 Filter Size Time Between Filter Change
 1″  1 – 3 Months
 2″  1 – 3 Months
 3″  6 – 9 Months
 4″  6 – 9 Months
 5″  9 – 12 Months
 6″  9 – 12 Months

What Are The Different Types Of Furnace Filters?

The filters used in your home’s heating and cooling system can significantly impact your comfort, energy bill, and indoor air quality. Not only does your furnace filter keep your air clean, but it also regulates how hard your furnace needs to draw in air to circulate throughout your home.

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Filters come in different sizes, thicknesses, and efficiency ratings. Each type of filter can be used for different situations, and it’s essential that you choose the right filter for your home HVAC unit since selecting the wrong kind of filter can damage the heating system.

Here are a few of the most common types of air filters that you can use in your residential HVAC system:

  • HEPA Filters: These are high-efficiency filters that can trap up to 99% of airborne particulates in your home. These HVAC filters are more expensive than other options, but they are tested to capture 0.3 microns or larger pollutants.
  • Pleated Filters: These are the most common type of filters used by most homeowners because they are inexpensive and work for most situations. They are not as efficient as HEPA filters, but they are much less expensive.
  • Electrostatic Filters: These air filter home solutions are semi-permanent because they are washable. The filters work by trapping pollutants with an electronic charge that attracts dust, smoke, and pollen.
  • Fiberglass Filters: These filters are most commonly found in furnace systems because they are effective at trapping large dust particles. These filters tend to be the least expensive compared to the other filter types.

Another factor that you need to consider when choosing the right type of furnace filter is to look for the MERV rating of your air filter. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and this is the available size of particulates that your air filter is designed to catch.

Higher MERV rated filters catch smaller particles, while lower MERV rated air filters let more particles through and are less efficient overall.

Get Ready For Winter With The Right Air Filter For Your HVAC System

Now is the time to look over your home’s furnace and double-check that your air filter is the right fit, size, and rating for your home.

Which Furnace Filter Should I Buy?

Filters are all different. Some filters, traditional-style and inexpensive, handle traditional problems. These are not high-efficiency filters capable of collecting every possible contaminant—there are modern filters that can even collect and remove bacteria and viruses.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need one of these do-it-all filters, but if you are someone who suffers from seasonal or pet allergies, then you may want to find a type of HEPA-filter at least capable of removing allergens. Also, you may pay a little more for a higher efficiency furnace filter, but the extra cost will hopefully be recouped in energy savings.

The most important part of a filter is that it gets replaced, semi-often. A dirty filter can wear on your HVAC system, hurting your system and costing you more in energy costs.

Most filters have a recommended life span included on the packaging, but if not then abide by these simple timelines: conventional filters should be replaced every 1 to 3 months, while high-efficiency filters will last 6 months; longer in some cases.

To prevent yourself from forgetting the lifespan of the filter, write on the filter the exact date when you put it in place. That way if you are wondering if it’s time to replace it you can always consult the filter.

Also, setting reminders in your phone or writing an arbitrary date on the year’s calendar should, hopefully, help you to remember!