From the Blog

Why my filter gets so dirty?

As a homeowner, you probably already know that replacing your AC air filter is a recurring job.

The simple rule is to replace them as soon as they get dirty.

But how do you know when you’re replacing them too frequently (and wasting money on replacement filters)?

The answer really depends on the kind of filter you’re using.

How often you should replace your air filter

In general, the higher an air filter’s MERV rating, the more frequently you’ll need to replace it. So consider your filter’s rating if you think you’re replacing your filter too often.

Every filter has a MERV rating that refers to how many air contaminants it can catch. The higher the number (between 1 and 20), the fewer contaminants can pass through it.

Need a quick lesson on MERV ratings?

Now let’s take a look at the kinds of air filters available:


These filters are typically 1” thick and made from spun fiberglass. Fiberglass filters typically need to be replaced about once a month.


These filters are made from polyester or paper material. Pleated filters come in a variety of widths (typically from 1 to 6 inches thick).

In general, pleated filters should need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months.


These filters technically never need to be replaced because they are washable. Air contaminants are trapped between positively and negatively charged materials.

You can expect to vacuum or wash your electrostatic filter at least once a month.


HEPA filters are used in most home air purifying systems. They capture the most air contaminants and should be replaced every 12-18 months.

Why you’re replacing your filter more often

There are a number of reasons your filters get clogged and dirty more frequently than they should. Let’s take a look at some of them.

You’re leaving your thermostat fan set to ON

There are 2 options when it comes to your AC fan: AUTO and ON.

When you set your fan to ON, it runs 24/7. And when the air in your home circulates through your filter and AC system non-stop, it’s going to pick up dirt and air contaminants at a much faster rate.

What to do: Choose the fan setting that fits your situation and priorities.

If you have allergy and asthma sufferers in your home and you use a HEPA filter, use the ON setting while you’re home to remove more airborne contaminants and improve your air quality.

If air quality is less of a priority for you and your family, use the AUTO setting. This setting uses less energy, prevents indoor humidity and means you’ll need to change your filter less frequently.

You have many guests and/or pets

More people walking into your home increases the amount of dirt and contaminants in your home. Furry pets also introduce hair, dirt, and pet dander.

And the more contaminants floating around in your home, the faster your filter gets dirty.

What to do: Consider investing in a whole home air filtration system. These advanced filtration systems pick up the contaminants left behind by guests and pets but also have a long service life.

You have leaky air ducts

Leaks in your air ducts introduce dust and dirt from areas like your attic. The more dirt a leaky duct system brings into your home, the more dirt your air filter accumulates.

What to do: Have your ductwork inspected by a professional.

They’ll be able to either repair or replace your duct system to ensure your ducts are leak free, keeping your utility bills lower and preventing you from replacing your filter frequently.

Note: If you have leaky ducts, the unfortunate truth is that you are wasting money every month. According to ENERGYSTAR, the average home loses 20-30% of conditioned air through duct leaks.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.

For more information you can reach us at 205-664-3501


Indoor air quality & asthma.

Does anyone in your family suffer from asthma? If so, you probably know that symptoms of the disease can vary depending on a person’s surroundings. There are certain triggers that bring on asthma symptoms, and the key to making the condition more manageable is limiting a person’s exposure to those triggers, especially at home. Today we’re going to talk about how cleaning your home’s air can eliminate asthma triggers and help improve the symptoms for anyone in your home who suffers from asthma!

Asthma triggers that are commonly found at home

People are exposed to asthma triggers via contaminants in the air that they breathe. Often times, those contaminants are present in higher quantities indoors than they are outdoors. That’s because homes and buildings tend to be tightly sealed, which traps contaminants inside with nowhere to go.

Some of the most common asthma triggers that are found in the air in homes include:

Dust mites
Pet dander
High humidity
Chemicals from cleaners and other household products
How to clean your home’s air and reduce asthma triggers

By removing the asthma triggers listed above from your home’s air, people in your home who suffer from asthma will breathe much easier and asthma attacks can be much less frequent. Some of the best strategies for cleaning your homes air and removing asthma triggers include:

Installing an air cleaner. A standard air filter’s primary job is to protect your furnace and air conditioner from dirt buildup. As a side effect of that job, it can remove small quantities of asthma triggers from your home’s air. However, a standard filter is not nearly as effective at removing contaminants from your home’s air as an air cleaner, which is designed with the health of your family in mind. An air cleaner can remove up to 99 percent of the asthma triggers in your home’s air, including tiny contaminants that would flow right past a standard air filter. Installing an air cleaner is the number one way to relieve asthma symptoms at home.
Changing your air filter regularly. If you do have a standard filter installed in your home, it’s important to change it on a regular basis. If your filter is dirty, it will not effectively remove asthma triggers like dust and pet dander from your home’s air. Check your filter once per month and change it as needed.
Keeping your home clean. Another good way to keep your home’s air clean is to remove contaminants at their source. About once per week, perform routine cleaning tasks like vacuuming, wiping dusty surfaces (with a wet rag rather than a duster) and washing your bedding. This will limit the amount of asthma triggers that can get carried away into your home’s airflow.
Taking good care of your cooling system. High humidity is a known asthma trigger, and one of the best ways to keep your home’s humidity levels under control is to take good care of your air conditioner. That’s because common problems like dirty cooling coils and a clogged condensate drain will impair your system’s ability to remove moisture from your home’s air. Make sure to get your air conditioner tuned-up once per year and give 3D Air Services a call as soon as you expect any problems with your  system.

3D Air Services recommends a indoor air quality or IAQ package of the Aprilaire Air Cleaner matches with the Guardian Air Purifier. The Aprilaire greatly reduces dust and the Guardian kills mold, bacteria, & viruses in the air.


For any other questions call us at    664-3501 or email us at

We serve Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.