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The short answer is as often as they get dirty. However, the size of your filter and your home environment both play a significant role in how often you change your filter. The performance of a filter is related to its thickness, regardless of outside dimensions. There are 1-inch thick, 2-inch thick, 4-inch thick, and 5-inch thick filters. Your furnace is designed to accept only one size (possibly 1 or 2 may work in one furnace).

The next consideration is environmental. Suppose you live on a gravel road and have ten indoor cats shedding constantly. In that case, you will need to change your filter more frequently than someone with no pets, no kids, no husband, and who never opens their windows.

So the best way to determine your frequency is to evaluate your environment and then begin checking your filter. Shut off the furnace at the thermostat and remove your filter. If the filter is dirty, change it. If not evident, hold it up to the window, and if you can see daylight through it, it is still good. If you cannot see the light, then it is time to change it.

Rules of thumb are that 1-inch filters change at least every three months if not sooner, 2-inch filters four months, 4-inch filters can last 6 to 8 months, and 5-inch filters can last as long as a year depending on the quality.

If you can see dirt on your filter, it is about 50% plugged.

Turn your thermostat to emergency heat and let your heat pump thaw out. If it is below 35 degrees outside, we recommend that you switch your thermostat to emergency heat. Your heat pump draws heat from the outside. If the outside temperature is 35 degrees or below. Your heat pump is working too hard to produce heat. Give your heat pump a vacation during cold weather.

New inverter-style heat pumps can operate at lower temperatures.

A heat pump is an efficient way to heat your home, especially in the Pacific NW, where our average temperatures are above freezing most of the time. However, many deciding factors come into play when replacing your existing heating system or contemplating what to use for your new house.

An excellent way to go is a heat pump with a natural gas furnace, and you can combine two of the very best ways to heat your home with what is called a dual fuel system. When the temperatures drop below 35 degrees, your gas furnace can take over the heating duties, or a gas furnace can quickly heat your home in the mornings, and the heat pump can easily maintain that heat all day long.

Most likely, your heat pump is in defrost mode and is melting the ice buildup on the coil from the natural functioning of the heating mode of the heat pump. What you are seeing is steam and not smoke.

If it is smoke, you can usually smell something burning. If in doubt, shut off the power to your heat pump and have it checked by an HVAC professional.

Like buying a car, the furnace’s cost depends on the model you are looking at purchasing. Gas furnaces have different efficiency features. A basic gas furnace rated at 80% efficiency with a high and low-speed fan motor is your most economical choice for purchasing. However, gas furnaces with 98% efficiency ratings have variable speed motors that help save on the cost of operation. This would be your loaded option, just as if you were buying a car with all the bells and whistles. It would essentially save you an additional 18% of your natural gas usage. Also, several mid-range models are rated between 92% to 95% which can make great choices depending on your usage and target price range.

We have had installations range between $1,200 to $10,000, depending on your personal needs and your home’s variable

You should service your heating system regularly to maintain it at peak efficiency and discover potential issues when they are small before they become more prominent and potentially more expensive to repair.

Maintenance will also help keep your furnace and heat pump operating at peak efficiencies.

How old is your HVAC equipment? If That is the first question to ask yourself. A heat pump typically is expected to last 15 years, and a gas furnace has a life of 12 to 20 years. If it is near its expected lifespan, you take into consideration the cost of the repair and the cost of the replacement equipment before deciding whether to repair or replace it.

Home Comfort Inc.’s philosophy is to try to repair your equipment first before recommending replacement. But when it is more cost-effective to replace, we will help you make that decision. Newer equipment is also more efficient, and the cost to operate daily would be less.