The Ultimate Guide to Changing Air Filters

Learn about the recommended frequency for changing air filters and how factors like location, pets, and HVAC system type can impact this timeline. Discover the telltale signs that it's time for a replacement and why it's important to regularly change your air filte

The Ultimate Guide to Changing Air Filters

As an HVAC expert, I have been asked countless times about the recommended frequency for changing air filters. It's a common misconception that air filters only need to be replaced once a year, but the truth is that most manufacturers and HVAC companies suggest replacing them every 90 days or 3 months. However, this timeline can vary depending on factors such as the location of your home, the presence of pets, and the age of your system and equipment. For pleated air filters, like those made by FilterBuy, the general rule is to replace them every 90 days. This is because as the filter collects more dirt, dust, and allergens from the air, its efficiency decreases.

But before you assume that 90 days is the magic number for all air filters, there are a few other things to consider. If you have a fiberglass air filter, it should be replaced approximately every 30 days or as recommended by the manufacturer. On the other hand, a pleated air filter can typically last anywhere from three to six months before needing to be replaced. However, it's important to note that the frequency of air filter replacement is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are several key factors that can impact how often you should change your air filter, including your home's location, number of occupants, and type of HVAC system. Regardless of these variables, it's crucial to have a quality air filter that is properly maintained in order to keep indoor air clean and your system running efficiently. But what happens if you can't change your air filter every 90 days? While it's ideal to stick to this timeline, going a little longer between replacements will not cause irreparable damage to your HVAC system.

However, it's important to keep in mind that regularly changing your air filter can lead to better air circulation, cleaner air, and even lower electricity bills. So how do you know when it's time to change your air filter? One telltale sign is a visible layer of dirt covering the majority of the filter surface. If the dirt is thick enough to hide the filter material itself, it's a clear indication that the filter has been in use for too long. Additionally, if your air conditioning system is running constantly, you may need to change the filter every few weeks, especially if you're using a cheaper fiberglass filter. If you have pets, it's important to consider their impact on your air filter as well. Long-haired pets tend to shed more hair than short-haired pets, which can contribute to an accumulation of dander in the air.

The longer the filter remains in place, the more dirt, dust, and allergens it will trap, ultimately clogging the filter and reducing its effectiveness. To determine if you should change your air filter more frequently than recommended, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I live in a dry or dusty climate?
  • Do I have pets?
  • Is my HVAC system running constantly?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be necessary to replace your air filter more often than the standard 90-day timeline. Additionally, consider using a filter with a MERV rating of 12, such as the Nordic Pure Filter available on Amazon, for even better filtration. If you have a vacation home or property that is not frequently used, you can typically wait a little longer before replacing the air filter. Ultimately, the right frequency for changing air filters will vary from home to home. While it's generally recommended to change your air filter every three months, there are certain factors that may warrant more frequent replacements. Compared to other home improvement tasks, changing air filters is a quick and easy process that can be completed in less than an hour.

And it's well worth the effort, as a clean air filter can prevent dust from passing through your HVAC system and accumulating in the internal coils of your air conditioner, ultimately reducing its efficiency. If you have someone in your household who suffers from allergies or asthma, it's especially important to stay on top of air filter replacements. In these cases, it's best to change the filter every six weeks to ensure the best indoor air quality for your loved ones.

Wilma Melen
Wilma Melen

Infuriatingly humble pizza specialist. Unapologetic communicator. Wannabe music buff. Passionate internet evangelist. Total travel scholar.

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