Second Nature is a company that seeks to reduce the risk of unchanged furnace filters by automatically sending new filters to your home on a monthly basis. But is the service worth it? Read on to find out.
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- What Is Second Nature?
- Why Changing Filters Matters
- How Filter Subscriptions Work
- Benefits of Second Nature
- Plans and Pricing
- Our Take
What Is Second Nature?
Formerly called FilterEasy, Second Nature is a Raleigh, NC-based company offering air filter subscription programs. This helps property managers both mitigate risk and keep the HVAC units in tenant properties running efficiently.
Some property managers manage the cost of Second Nature air filter delivery by adding a small fee to the lease or rental agreement. Others work it into the overall rent.
When I was in property management, we participated in programs like this to both add value to our portfolio and put money into our pocket.
Read on to learn how this program can both protect your property investment and also boost your net income.
Why Changing Air Filters Matters
One of the most often ignored maintenance tasks is the replacement of air filters in the home. Property managers may not remember to order or purchase filters in the correct size, replace them, and deliver them to each tenant property every month.
Even if responsibility is placed with the tenant to replace air filters regularly, it’s easy to forget to replace filters on time and risk damaging the HVAC system in the meantime.
The result is that many rental properties go months, or even years, without having the air filters replaced. A Zebra air filter survey found the following statistics among homeowners, property managers, and tenants in the United States:
- 82% of Americans don’t change their air filters monthly as recommended
- 31% of those who try to change their air filters regularly say they change them”every few months”
- 29% say they never change the air filters in their home or in properties they manage
Why replace air filters monthly
Why is it so important to change air filters in managed properties every month or two? Several reasons apply, and some have a direct effect on revenue.
- Air filters remove pollen, pet dander, dust, mold spores, and particulate debris from the air inside a home.
- Clogged air filters are the leading cause of HVAC system failure. They also contribute to higher energy bills by making the system work harder to filter the air when clogged.
- Air filters cut down on fire risk by keeping stray objects from being sucked into the HVAC system.
- Air filters improve the air quality within a home and keep moisture, bacteria, and mold from thriving in the duct system and being spread throughout the house.
Second Nature has created a simple solution for property managers and homeowners who want to start regularly replacing air filters in properties to cut down on the risk of HVAC failure or fire.
How Second Nature Works
Users sign up online and note the size and number of air filters they’d like delivered to each property every month.
This program ships the new air filters to each property, where the tenant can then replace and install the air filters regularly. That allows the property manager to take a “hands-off” approach to this vital part of routine maintenance.
Every Second Nature filter is stamped with an expiration date that shows the tenant when it needs to be replaced. Inspections and home checks can quickly reveal if the filters have been changed regularly by checking the expiration date on the installed air filter.
In the simplest terms, this is how Second Nature works:
- Start your subscription online. Choose the size and number of filters for each property.
- Air filters are automatically shipped out (shipping is free) at the same time each month. The arrival reminds tenants that it’s time to replace their air filters.
- Delay, suspend, or cancel your subscription anytime. Second Nature doesn’t have property managers sign contracts or commitments to use the subscription. When you cancel, no more air filters will be shipped to the address(es) you’ve selected.
Benefits of Second Nature
Second Nature is excellent for homeowners, but it’s especially beneficial for property managers. The maintenance, repairs, and upkeep are all part of a property manager’s responsibility in a rental or leased property.
This air filter subscription plan automatically ensures that air filters are replaced as recommended to keep the HVAC system working efficiently and correctly. Additionally, Second Nature uses pleated filters, the best in the game.
Using the Second Nature subscription program can save money and increase revenue in several ways:
$300 per HVAC repair
- Fewer tenant HVAC maintenance requests due to the system running more efficiently.
- Calls about the HVAC system not heating or cooling correctly can be cut down, resulting in fewer calls to repair companies and lower maintenance expenses overall.
$4,820 (HVAC-only replacement) to $12,350 (HVAC with full duct replacement)
- Lower risk of HVAC failure due to clogged air filters, the number one cause of failure. Less chance of HVAC-related fires from overheating or pulling debris into the unit.
- Without the system working in overdrive to pump air through clogged air filters, the system lasts longer and runs more efficiently.
Monthly Filter Markup
Estimated annual revenue: $30 to $50 per property
- Increased revenue through the additional monthly fee to cover the cost of air filters, plus room for about 25% profit.
Estimated annual savings: $106 per property
- Reduced heating and cooling bills due to a more efficient HVAC system. Rent Manager notes that energy bills are about 15% less with monthly air filter changes.
In short, using Second Nature to schedule and track air filter replacement in tenant properties gives property managers a way to ensure this critical, routine maintenance activity is never neglected or ignored.
- It benefits the tenants or lessees by providing better air quality within the property, reducing instances of mold or bacterial growth in the HVAC system, and lowering energy bills if they are responsible for paying them.
- It benefits property managers and owners by saving money short- and long-term by limiting HVAC repair calls and the need to replace entire HVAC systems, eliminating the risk of HVAC-related fire, and by reducing energy bills around 15%, if the tenant is not responsible for paying them.
These both increase revenue by about $30-$50 per property, per year and make rental properties safer, cleaner, and more comfortable. Combine this with increased revenue, and it’s a win-win situation for property managers.
Plans and Pricing
Second Nature offers many benefits, but you can probably imagine that a service like this commands a premium.
Pricing is on a per-filter basis, but most filters fall into the following categories:
- Merv8 ($12/filter) — These filters capture pollen, dust, mold, dust mites, and bacteria. We’d put these in a rental, no more.
- Merv11 ($16/filter) — These middle of the road filters capture pollen, dust, mold, dust mites, bacteria, and pet dander.
- Merv13 ($20/filter) — These filters capture pollen, dust, mold, dust mites, pet dander, bacteria, smog, smoke, cooking oil, and virus carriers.
The pricing model is simple: pay between $12 and $20 per unit for your filters. Shipping is always free, and tax is included. You can buy one, two, or even twelve filters.
Second Nature will automatically bill your credit card each month, and you’ll get the filter delivered straight to your house. That said, filters are more expensive than buying them from the store.
For example, a Honeywell Merv 8 pleated filter runs $17.97 for a 2 pack, which equals $8.99 per filter. Second Nature’s filters are 33% more expensive per filter. However, this does include tax and shipping.
While this service is certainly not for everyone, it’s worth considering for the pure ease of use. At my own house, I forget to change my furnace filter on a regular basis. Even though I buy 12 at a time, they sit in my basement until I see the HVAC unit.
I happen to be on top of my home maintenance, and if I’m forgetting to change the filter on a regular basis, I can’t imagine the frequency at which renters change their filters.
By subscribing to Second Nature, you’re not trying to save money on a per-filter basis. What you’re doing is intentionally sending yourself (or your tenant) a filter as a reminder to change it.
Over time, this will save both energy costs and reduce HVAC maintenance, so we think it’s seriously worth considering.
Should You Use Second Nature?
By sending filters to your home on a regular basis, you’re essentially setting a recurring reminder to change the filter. For highly organized homeowners and renters who already change their filters, this program is expensive.
But for the other 82% of us, this program helps remind you to change your filter on a regular basis. We think enrollment should be a serious consideration to both save money and reduce headaches.