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How Air Filters Impact our Health and Homes (And When to Change Them!)

I often like to think about our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as the lungs of our homes. A good HVAC system will keep your home breathing healthy all year long. Today, when we keep our homes sealed up tight for energy efficiency, often we are not replacing that old, stale air with fresh, clean air, but a well-ventilated home with a maintained HVAC system can help with that process.


What’s In Our Air?

While we give plenty of consideration to the air quality outside, many homeowners don’t give that same consideration to their indoor air – typically assuming their home is good and safe. Our indoor air commonly contains particles like pollen, mold spores, dust mites and other allergens. While some of these will be visible to the naked eye, others, like the particles that carry viruses, bacteria, and odors, are microscopic.

As we build our homes to be more and more airtight, they’re becoming more energy efficient, but they’re also locking in these potentially harmful particles, and then what happens? We start to breathe them in.

In my opinion, poor indoor air quality is responsible for the increase of respiratory issues among families. By installing better filtration systems in our homes, and maintaining them properly, we can better protect our families from harm.

What are the Filters For?

There’s a misconception that the commonly installed air filters are meant to clean the air, but what they actually do is protect your HVAC system. So by keeping your filter clean, and changing it regularly, you’re keeping your system running more efficiently. How often should you change your filters? That typically depends on the time of year. I would say every three months minimum is a good bet, but during the summer and winter months when your system works overtime, checking them once a month is worthwhile. And if you’re in the middle of a renovation? Check them every two weeks.

There are filters available from 3M Filtrete that offer a wide variety of products for different needs. There are filters that are designed for pet owners, smokers, or allergy sufferers. To find out what kind of filter works best for your home, click here.

What about your air ducts? Well, they’ll get dirty over time – that’s a fact. You shouldn’t need to have them cleaned professionally every year, but if you suffer from allergies, or have pets, you’ll definitely want to have them cleaned every few years. And again, if you’ve just completed a renovation – well, that dust has to go somewhere – so that’s a good time to bring someone in.


It doesn’t take much to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. Take care of your regular maintenance and you’ll be able to breathe easy.

About the Author

Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, is working with Associa to refine the standards and protocols that today’s Homeowner’s Associations use to Make It Right™ for their homeowners. He brings more than 35 years of experience in renovations, construction, and inspection services, and is best known as the contractor and host of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Makes It Right” where he rescues homeowners from repair and renovation disasters.