How Often Should You Change Your HVAC Air Filters?

It’s been a long winter, and your furnace has been working overtime. You’re starting to notice that the air from the vents is a little dusty. It’s time to change your furnace filter, but how often should you be changing it? Learn more about how often you need filter replacements, as well as the benefits of air filters and the various types that are available.

Benefits of Changing Your Air Filter

Helps Improve Indoor Air Quality

As your furnace filter traps dust, pollen, pet dander, and other airborne particles, it is crucial to change it regularly to maintain good indoor air quality. Without a clean filter in place, you will have excess dust and allergens distributed throughout your home. This is unhealthy for everyone but especially those with allergies.

Prolongs the Life of Your Furnace

A clean furnace filter will help prolong the life of your furnace by allowing it to run more efficiently. With a dirty filter, air cannot flow through the system like it should, putting excess strain on internal components and increasing wear and tear.

Saves You Money

A clean furnace filter will also save you money on your energy bills as it will help your furnace run more efficiently. In addition, you can avoid equipment malfunctions caused by a dirty filter. This can save you money on repair bills.

Provide More Even Heating

In addition to putting more strain on your system, restricted airflow caused by a dirty filter can make it difficult for your system to deliver conditioned air throughout your home. This can lead to uneven heating and an uncomfortable home environment.

Types of Furnace Filters

Disposable Pleated Filters

These are the most common type of furnace filter and can be found at most hardware stores. They are quite affordable and provide adequate filtering for most homeowners. Typically, these filters need to be changed every 90 days.

Reusable Pleated Filters

These filters can be washed and reused several times before they need to be replaced. Some reusable filters can last for several years, making them an eco-friendly and cost-effective option. They do cost more upfront and may not be the best for promoting high indoor air quality. Depending on the model, they need to be cleaned every one to three months and replace every three to five years.

Reusable Electrostatic Air Filters

These filters use static electricity to trap dust, pollen, and other airborne particles. They need to be cleaned every four to six weeks and can last up to three years before needing to be replaced.

High-efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters

These are the most expensive type of furnace filter, but they are also the most effective at trapping dust, pollen, and other airborne particles. They can last up to a year before they need to be replaced. It’s important to note that HEPA filters don’t work with all furnaces, so you should discuss this with our technicians.

Factors That Influence How Often You Change Your Furnace Filter

Filter Type

The type of filter you have will play a big role in how often you need to change it. The most affordable filter types should be replaced every three months, but more expensive filters can last six months to a year in most homes.

Home Size

The size of your home will also influence how often you need to change your furnace filter. Of course, a smaller home will not require as much filtering as a larger home, so filter changes may be needed less frequently.

Number of Occupants in Your Home

The number of people in your home will also affect how often you need to change your furnace filter. The more people in your home, the more dust and dirt circulate through the air. As a general rule, you should change your filter more often if you have more people in your home.

Pets

If you have pets, they will contribute to the dust and dirt in your home. Pets also shed hair and dander, which can contribute to poor air quality. If you’re a pet owner, you should change your filter every four to eight weeks.

Smoking Indoors

Of course, smoking indoors will also lead to poor air quality. Depending on the number of smokers you have in your home, you will need to change a 2-inch filter every one to two months and a 4-inch filter every two to four months.

Seasonal Changes

The season can also affect how often you need to change your furnace filter. During the winter, when your furnace runs more often, you will need to change your filter more often. When your furnace is used less frequently during the early spring and late fall, you can change your filter less often.

Air Quality in Your Area

The air quality in your area can also influence how often you need to change your furnace filter. If you live in an area with poor air quality, you must change your filter more often. Nearby wildfires can also increase the frequency of filter changes.

Overall Cleanliness of Your Home

Keeping your interior spaces clean can reduce the need for frequent filter changes. In particular, it’s important to dust, sweep, and vacuum regularly to pick up excess dust, dirt, and other debris throughout your home.

Tips for Prolonging the Life of Your Furnace Filter

Schedule Preventive Maintenance

One of the best ways to prolong the life of your furnace filter is to schedule preventive maintenance. Having your furnace serviced by a professional once a year will help to keep it running efficiently and will also help to prolong the life of your furnace filter.

Clean Your Filter Regularly

If you have a reusable furnace filter, it’s important that you clean it regularly. One washable filter is equal to around 20 to 60 regular disposable filters, but it won’t last without regular cleanings.

Don’t Smoke Indoors

As mentioned, smoking indoors will shorten the life of your furnace filter. If you smoke, do so outdoors to prolong the life of your filter. Reducing secondhand smoke indoors will also improve your overall air quality and reduce the risk of potential health issues.

Make Use of the Auto Setting

If your furnace has an auto setting, make use of it. The auto setting will ensure that the furnace is only running when necessary. The longer your furnace runs, the more frequently you will need to change the filter.

Seal Air Leaks

If your home is not properly sealed, air will be able to leak in and out. This will cause your furnace to run more often, which will shorten the life of your filter. Leaks can also allow contaminants from outside to get inside your home, increasing the work of your filter.

Use the Right Filter

The stronger the filter, the less frequently you will need to change it. For residential use, pleated filters offer a perfect balance between quality and affordability. These filters are less likely to clog, and they do an excellent job of keeping your indoor air clean thanks to their deeper pleats, which offer more surface area.

Contact Our HVAC Professionals Today

Your home furnace filter is essential to your furnace, and it is vital to change it regularly. If you’re not sure how often you should be changing your furnace filter or if you need help changing it, Quality Air Of America is available to help. We offer heating maintenance, repair, and installation services and can ensure that you get the most out of your furnace. Our team also provides cooling and air quality services, including duct cleaning and sealing. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for your Miami-area home.

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