How Often Do You REALLY Need to Change Your HVAC Filter?
One of the most important things you can do on your own to take good care of your HVAC system is to simply change your air filter on a regular basis. This keeps everything working properly and also helps to keep your energy bills low. Unfortunately, it is a task that is easily forgotten by many homeowners for months at a time, leading to higher energy bills and future maintenance issues. But how often should you change your air filter? How often should you change your furnace filter? Well, it depends. Here are some general rules and recommendations to help you figure out what time frame is best for your HVAC system.
How Often to Change Home Air Filters
It is a general recommendation that you should change your air filter in your home every 30 days when using less expensive fiberglass filters. High-end pleated filters can last as long as 6 months, but these typical guidelines assume average use and don’t take into account the size and type of filter.
As a general rule, you’ll want to replace pleated air filters and furnace filters in your home every 90 days. The longer the filter is in place, the more dirt, dust and allergens are trapped clogging the filter and decreasing their efficiency. If you answer yes to any of the questions below, you’ll want to replace your filter more often than may be recommended. Find out below if perhaps you should be replacing your filter more often than you may think.
Does anyone in your house have allergies and/or asthma?
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), “indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality. Outdoor air can contain harmful pollution. But indoor air can actually be worse than outdoor air.” If there is an asthmatic or allergy sufferer in your home, they are much more sensitive to airborne particulates than those that don’t suffer. If you answer yes to this question, you’ll want to change your filter every 6 weeks to keep your indoor air quality at its best.
Do you have any pets?
If you are a cat or dog owner you know all too well that odor can build up after time and that shedding is at its worst during the change of seasons. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to change your air filter every 2 months, especially when winter turns to spring and summer turns to fall.
Do you have younger children?
When you have young children in your home, you want to keep your indoor air quality at its best. To keep your air quality under control and your home clean, you’ll want to replace your filter at a minimal interval of every 2-3 months.
Things That Can Affect the Lifespan of your HVAC Air Filter:
1. How often you use your heating and cooling system
If you live in a mild climate and only use your AC or furnace a few hours a day, one filter could potentially last you a whole season or up to an entire year. On the flip side, if you’re running your HVAC system on a nearly constant basis, the filter will need to be changed every few weeks (especially if you are using fiberglass filters).
2. The size of your house
If you live in a “smaller home”, your air conditioners and furnaces are required to pump less air for the same amount of temperature change, which could mean fewer filter changes. However, the smaller the appliance used to cool the small space often come with smaller filters, therefore you may need to change the filter as often as a filter in a larger home.
3. The air quality in your home
Your air filter’s and furnace filter’s replacement cycle is also affected by the air outside and within your home. If you have poor air quality outside or pets inside, you’ll need to replace your air filter more frequently.
How to Tell When You Need to Change Your HVAC Air Filter
All of the air that circulates through your HVAC system, to either heat or cool your home, will eventually pass through the air filter. This is why it is so VERY important to keep your air filters clean and change them regularly. Dirty, clogged air filters can:
- Cause HVAC system malfunctions and equipment damage.
- Reduce airflow inside the HVAC system, making the fans work harder and wearing them out more quickly.
- NOT remove particulates and contaminants as effectively as they should, therefore releasing these back into your indoor air (or the air that you and your family breath).
- Cause contaminates to built up in your duct work.
- Cause the HVAC equipment to work harder, increasing your home’s energy usage and your monthly electric bill payments.
Air filters and furnace filters should be checked at least once a month. If they are dirty they should be changed with a fresh clean air filter. When removing the air filter from the air-handler, if you hold it up to a light source you will be able to see if the filter is dirty or clogged – if you can’t see the light through the filter, then it’s definitely time for it to be changed.