Changing the Filter….

My year-old, clogged air filter.

I travel around the state telling businesses to change the filters in their air handling units once per month to save energy.

This is why my situation is particularly ironic.

Since I moved in in August 2008, my heating/cooling unit’s air filter has not been changed. I will not speculate about how long it had been in place before I moved in. 

I have been thinking about this since reading Neely’s post on the MN Energy Challenge blog. That was May. This is August. My filter has still not been changed. In that time, we have acquired a very sheddy pet rabbit from the Humane Society. His name is Raul and he very successfully pollutes the air with his fur. This is evident when closely examining the filter. This is also evident in the straining noises the air conditioner makes every time it powers on. The air is trying to pass through a barrier stronger than the Great Wall of China

So, you know what they say – when the boyfriend is out of town for the weekend, it is the perfect time to take on those DIY home improvement projects.

I sat in front of the unit for a while before I found the filter. Don’t worry if it takes you a while to find it. It probably took me longer. I pulled it out a little bit, careful to notice which side was which (it is important to notice the direction of the airflow when putting in a new filter). When pulling it out, I noticed that the air conditioner’s asthmatic whistly wheeze immediately stopped. That’s… a bad sign. We have been sneezing. We have been paying ridiculous energy bills. Our house has been unbelievably dusty. Earth to Houston – a dirty filter is a problem.

Then, I wrote down the size of the filter and called around to see who had them. The Ace by my house has them in my size! Score! I bought a year’s supply for $20. Who wants to go buy filters every few months? Not me… now I have my supply handy.

They are surprisingly easy to install, for how long I’ve been dallying.

Easy switch!To make sure this doesn’t happen again….

Bad, disgusting filter.I used the handy-dandy label they included to remind me when to switch my filter next time!

Replacement reminder.In the first ten minutes, I swear my A/C is running less often and for less time – and it’s almost like I can feel the dust getting “vacuumed” out of the air. 

This is my job, folks – if it’s hard for me to make time to care, I certainly understand why it’s hard for you.  But don’t be stupid like me! Make time. Do it. Replace your HVAC filter. It will add to your quality of life – and will probably reduce your energy bills, too!



  1. Neely said

    Yay,! I actually just cleaned the filter on my window AC as well and found a big difference. But don’t feel bad about waiting so long, you did it, so you get a gold star. Also, smart about buying all the filters you need for a year – that’s what our house experts recommend. High five!

  2. Yeah, well, we lived in our townhouse for 4 years before realizing that maybe we should change the filter. Ooops! Now we are quite timely with it for sure!

  3. Jenn Henry said

    You know, I’m still surprised at how easy this was. I dreaded it all year. Crystal, do you notice less dust around?

    *proudly displays gold star* Practicing what I preach, for once! 🙂

  4. Um…we’re really bad at dusting. Like our house is spotless, but the dust remains. It’s a pet peeve of my sister’s. She loves to come over and make finger marks in our dust. Maybe I should do something about that (eek).

    Since changing our filter, we noticed that our AC and heat doesn’t have to work so hard. We can now program our thermostat to 70 degrees and life is good.

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