Regular furnace filter replacement is crucial for rental property owners and landlords because of all the preventative maintenance services it has the most impact.
By Greg Wells
Landlords and property managers are tasked with continually ensuring the homes and units they rent out are safe, comfortable and suitable for tenants.
Of course, this includes taking care of everything that can go wrong with plumbing, heating and air conditioning, but it also includes preventative maintenance on these systems that can halt a problem before it even starts. In most cases, it is that preemptive work that costs less than a major issue down the line.
Of all the preventative maintenance services required for HVAC and plumbing equipment, furnace-filter replacement arguably has the most impact.
If a furnace filter is not replaced regularly, air quality can diminish, damage can be done to heating-system components or the entire system, and in the worst-case scenario, a system breakdown can occur. With that in mind, here are all the reasons to replace the furnace air filter in your properties, and advice on how and when to do it.
How Often Should a Furnace Filter be Replaced?
A furnace air filter should be replaced every three months, especially in summer and winter when the furnace or air conditioner is running most frequently. Replacing every three months is a good standard to keep up with, though circumstances may change that recommendation.
For example, if construction is happening within the property, or you allow pets in the property, more frequent replacement is advisable. Keep in mind that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals will often change out the furnace air filter for you if the property is under an HVAC maintenance plan.
Why Should a Furnace Filter Be Replaced?
There are three primary reasons to replace a furnace filter: for the health of your tenants, for the health of the property’s systems, and to save money.
Regular furnace-filter replacement prolongs the life of an HVAC system. This is because the system has to work harder to produce heat if the air filter is dirty, causing a litany of potential problems. Dirty air filters can also cause severe problems, the worst of which is likely an overheated motor. If the motor overheats, and there are wiring issues in the system present, serious damage to the furnace or property can happen. This is both costly and obviously dangerous for tenants.
From the tenant standpoint, furnace-filter replacement can improve their quality of living. Regular replacement keeps the air in the property cleaner and helps eliminate foul odors. Additionally, regular filter replacement can reduce hazards, such as mold spores, soot, bacteria, and allergen buildup, both in the HVAC system and in the ductwork of the home.
Finally, regular furnace-filter replacement can provide cost savings. The filters are relatively inexpensive, and they can improve furnace efficiency, often resulting in a lower energy bill. Whether it’s the landlord or the tenant paying the utility bills, it is a meaningful benefit.
What is the Best Furnace Filter?
There are three things to focus on when purchasing furnace filters. These include:
- MERV rating: In addition to having the right size, property managers and landlords will want to take note of the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should select a filter with as high a MERV rating as your system fan and filter slot can accommodate (you may need to consult with a professional technician to determine this number).
- Size: Believe Believe it or not, size does matter when shopping for furnaces. The best furnace filter is the one that best fits your system. Trying to jam in a filter that is too big or too small will negatively affect the effectiveness, and can cause additional problems. A good tip is to write down your filter size on the furnace door so you’ll always remember what size you need to purchase.
- Price: The price of your property’s furnace filters will go along with your maintenance budgets, and thankfully many models are affordable. With high-quality filters, you’ll see the value for your money. Low-cost filters typically won’t hold up as long and will need to be replaced more frequently. Buy wisely.
When considering rental costs for 2023 and beyond, add furnace-filter replacements every three months for each property to the list. While it may seem like an added expense, it’s actually cost-saving over time and vital for the safety and quality of life for your tenants.
About the author:
Greg Wells is the president of MAX Service Group, which operates Williams Comfort Air and Mr. Plumber in central Indiana, Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in greater Cincinnati, Buckeye Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in greater Columbus, Ohio and Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in greater Louisville, Kentucky.