What should you do with your old air filter after you’re done using it? Many people have questions about how to dispose of old HVAC filters properly in Delaware. Leaving a filter in your home may cause it to release dirty, harmful particles into the air inside your home. Throwing it away could sentence it to a lifetime in a landfill. However, recycling an old air filter isn’t necessarily as simple as gathering it with your weekly collection of cardboard and cans. Let’s cover every step of how to get rid of an old air filter.

First Things First: How to Remove a Dirty Air Filter

Let’s make sure you’re going through the right steps to remove your dirty air filter. Doing this task incorrectly could expose your household to harmful particles. Once your air filter has been removed, place it in a plastic bag. This little trick will help you to trap all of the debris that’s clogging the filter in a bag. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how it should go:

  • First, start by putting on gloves and a mask for protection. You do not want to inhale debris from your filter.
  • Keep a plastic trash bag waiting as you’re changing your air filter.
  • Don’t waste a second before directing a filter from your HVAC unit to the trash bag. Never shake the filter!
  • Tie the bag shut to ensure that filter particles don’t leak out.
  • Finally, put the filter into your garage can immediately.

You may be tempted to skip some of these steps because your filter doesn’t “look” all that dirty. This is a common mistake. In reality, you’re only seeing the outside portion of the dirt, debris, and allergens trapped inside your filter. Harmful microscopic particles that are easily inhaled by humans and pets are hiding within the filter. In addition, filters are often teeming with bacteria, viruses, and mold spores that will be released back into your home if you’re not handling the task of disposing of your filter with the greatest of care.

Don’t Forget to Replace Your Filter Immediately

You should never be changing an air filter unless you’re also in the process of adding a new one. Filters are crucial for filtering out the harmful particles that are present in the air inside your home. Allowing your unit to run without a filter for any length of time allows unfiltered air to move through your HVAC system.

Can You Recycle a Dirty HVAC Air Filter?

This is a bit of a nuanced question. The default method of getting rid of an air filter is to simply throw it inside a sealed bag that gets placed in your trash bin. However, an eco-conscious person may have a hard time with this option. The truth is that there are some situations where recycling your dirty filter may be possible.

Your ability to recycle your HVAC air filter comes down to the type of filter you’ve purchased. Most filters are composed of a combination of plastic, fiberglass, and wire mesh. Unfortunately, all of these materials are unsuitable for basic household recycling. However, some recycling facilities will accept these filters. It’s best to do some research to find local recycling areas in your area. Always call ahead of time to confirm that the materials you’re trying to recycle can be accepted before simply “dumping off” items. If you cannot find a local company, look online for mail-in recycling companies that may be willing to accept your filters. These companies generally operate by sending prepaid mailers to customers. You’ll simply slip your filter into the mailer before sending it back using the instructions provided by the recycling company. Of course, you’ll need to take every precaution possible to avoid exposure to filter dust while managing shipping and handling of your used filter.

Another option is to contact a local HVAC company. Some companies actually accept used HVAC filters. Of course, customers who choose to have their filters changed by local HVAC professionals don’t have to worry about disposing of filters. This “dirty job” is taken care of fully by a technician with the knowledge and experience needed to do a clean swap. The technician will handle the proper disposal of the old filter.

Fast Facts on HVAC Filters: How Often Should They Be Changed?

If you have questions about how to dispose of HVAC air filters, you may also be wondering how frequently you should be taking care of this task. The answer varies by home size, household size, personal allergy levels, location, and HVAC style. Here are some factors that will make it necessary to change your HVAC for frequently than the standard recommendation:

  • You have a smaller house with a good number of people in it.
  • You have household pets.
  • You have an older, less efficient HVAC system.
  • Someone in your home suffers from asthma, allergies, or a respiratory condition.
  • You live on a main road with heavier air pollution.

The general recommendation is to change air filters every 90 days. Your specific HVAC system should come with guidelines for how frequently to change your filter. In addition, the manufacturer should provide details on the specific filter models to use. Always defer to manufacturer information when making decisions about your filters. If you have poor indoor air quality for any of the reasons listed above, it’s necessary to change your filters more frequently. For example, a household with a dog may require filter changes every 30 to 60 days to achieve the same air quality as a home without pets.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your HVAC Air Filter?

A lot can go wrong when you don’t stay on top of regularly changing your home’s HVAC filter. First, dirty filters actually reduce airflow within your HVAC system. That means that your system has to work harder to achieve the temperature on your thermostat. This translates to higher energy costs for a homeowner. In addition, forcing your system to work harder than it should ultimately causes the system to break down prematurely. That means you’ll be paying for a replacement years before you should be. There’s simply no way to “save money” by skipping filter changes.

Failing to change your air filters regularly can also compromise the health of everyone in your household. Dirty filters will eventually create dirty air that puts your family members and pets at risk for exposure to viruses, bacteria, and allergens. Dirty filters that are left in for too long can also create fire risks. When filters are left to remain clogged, it’s possible for a filter to become so clogged that it gets sucked into your system. Unfortunately, your home is at risk for a severe fire hazard if this is allowed to happen.

Make a Plan to Change Your Air Filter Regularly

Busy homeowners don’t always have time to worry about changing their HVAC air filters. While this is a relatively simple task, it still requires you to remember your filter schedule, purchase the right filters, and perform the unpleasant task of swapping out a dirty, contaminated filter. There’s no need to devote time, energy, and thought to staying current with your HVAC air filters. Delaware Heating and Air Conditioning can handle all of your routine HVAC maintenance needs. Let us stay on top of your filter changes for you. In addition, we can take a look at your system to ensure that everything is running as it should. Do you find that your home’s air quality always seems to be poor? Our techs can talk to you about the benefits of upgrading your home’s filtration system. Your household’s health and safety are resting on your ability to remember to properly change your HVAC system’s air filter. Get help from Delaware Heating & Air Conditioning to ensure this task is never overlooked. Contact us today!