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The 3 Filters Homeowners Forget to Check in Winter
January 25, 2017
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Indoor air quality in winter can leave a lot to be desired. It’s easy to tell when our home’s temperature is too cold, but what about when the air gets too dry or dirty? Being cooped up inside can make us forget what clean air is actually like.

This time of year, it helps to check a few filters around your home. (That’s right—there’s more than just one air filter!) Get these areas cleaned up now, and you should be able to breathe easy until spring.

1. HVAC Air Filter

It’s important to replace your air filter consistently year-round, but this is even truer in the colder months. Furnaces get a lot of use in winter, and a dirty filter will only make it harder for your system to cycle air. Replacing your filter can help keep your HVAC unit from over-working itself.

Most homes that use 1″ filters (and especially ones with pets) need to swap out their filters monthly. Homes with media filters (4″-5″ filters) don’t need to be changed as often, but should still be checked every 6 months. This helps prevent dust from clogging your system. So when the heat kicks in, your indoor air quality should be nice and fresh. Plus, clean filters can improve your unit’s efficiency in winter. You get cleaner air—and a lower energy bill.

2. Kitchen Range Hood Filter

For the home chefs out there, if this filter isn’t already on your cleaning rotation, add it now. This quick chore can help a lot with lingering food odors—especially in winter. Baking cookies is great, but we don’t want every smell from the kitchen to linger forever!

Cleaning these filter screens is pretty straightforward. You just find the screens under your range hood, pop them off, and wash them in your sink. Mix extra hot water with de-greasing dish soap and let the filters soak for 5-10 minutes. Then grab a plastic brush and start scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly, and let the filters air dry. They should only be re-installed when completely dry, so don’t rush the process if they’re even slightly wet. Once they’re squeaky clean, you should be able to save time by washing them monthly in the dishwasher.

3. Bathroom Exhaust Fan

The ventilation system in your bathroom also deserves some attention. While the fan may not have a “filter” in it per say, it still works to keep your home air clean. It draws out moisture and helps prevent mold and mildew from creeping around your shower space. Inspect the exhaust cover regularly to keep the airway clear.

To clean your bathroom vent, all you need is a vacuum with a dusting brush attachment. Make sure the fan is off (or flip the circuit breaker) and pull the vent fan cover down from the ceiling. There will probably be a couple clips holding the fan cover in place. Just move those aside to detach it. Then carefully vacuum around the fan and motor, and detail-clean the grille cover itself. Replace the cover, and you’re done!

If you have a whole house humidifier, there’s an additional filter you need to check this season. Most whole home humidifiers have a filter pad that needs to be changed once a year. It can be easy to forget! But when you’re an Energy Savings Plan member with LCS Heating & Cooling, we can take care of the filter replacement for you. It’s an easy option to add to your annual maintenance visit.

For any other HVAC repairs or air quality issues you might have this winter, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We pride ourselves on our customer service and are always happy to help with your air quality and heating questions!