How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filters?

Your furnace filter is meant to help prevent dust, debris, and other contaminants from being spread throughout your home. It traps these things, thereby preserving your air quality as heat circulates throughout the house. However, it’s important that you change your furnace filters before they get too dirty. Once dust, debris, and other contaminants begin building up, they can not only restrict airflow but can compromise the quality of your air as well.

When it comes to preserving the air quality in their homes, homeowners turn to W.F. Smith Heating and Air Conditioning for our reliable HVAC services. Our team of highly skilled HVAC specialists is experienced and trained to ensure a high standard of service each time. Here’s why we have maintained a stellar reputation as the leading heating and air conditioning company in Philadelphia:

If you’re asking yourself, “How often should I replace my furnace filter?”, then we invite you to check out our guide, which covers everything you need to know about changing furnace filters.

How Frequently Should I Be Changing My Furnace Filter?

Generally speaking, most furnace filter manufacturers estimate that you should change your furnace filter every three months. However, this is only a general guideline. The frequency at which you should change your filters depends a lot on your household, and every home is different. For example, if you’re going on winter vacation and your heat will be turned off while you’re gone, you may not need to change your filters for a while since your furnace filters won’t be doing any work.

However, several factors may require you to change your furnace filters more often. Keep in mind that a lot also depends on the type of furnace filters you are using and their thickness. In the infographic below, you’ll see some of the different factors that can result in the need to change your furnace filters more frequently. Once reviewed, continue reading below as we delve into each point:

  • You have pets – If you have pets, you’re going to need to change your furnace filters more often. Pets have a lot of hair and dander that can get into the air, and that can contribute to the buildup of debris and contaminants on your furnace filters. If you have one pet, you should change your filter every two months. If you have more than one pet, you may need to change your filter every 30 to 45 days.
  • You have allergies – If you have allergies and are sensitive to dust and other contaminants, then you’ll want to change your filter on a monthly basis to make sure that you preserve your home’s air quality. Even if no other factors are contributing to the need to replace your filters every month, doing so will help ensure that the quality of your home’s air doesn’t drop.
  • You smoke – Smoking inside your home can result in the buildup of dust and other contaminants. If there’s only one smoker in your home, then changing the filter every two months should suffice. If there is more than one, you’ll need to change the furnace filter every month.

Other Factors to Consider When Deciding How Often to Change the Furnace Filter

When determining the ideal time to change the filter in the furnace, you will need to consider the region you live in. People in colder climates will have their furnaces running more throughout the winter season and, therefore, they should have their HVAC filters changed every 30 to 60 days because more dirt and debris will be collected in a shorter period of time. People in the Southwest may only run their furnaces a handful of times throughout the year, so the standard 90 days will work well for them.

You will also need to consider the type of filter you use. Pleated filters have more surface area for collecting dust and debris, so they will last longer than flat filters, which likely need to be changed every 30 days.

Finally, take into account any home renovations you may be doing. Sanding and flooring installations can create more dust and debris. This may mean you will need to have your filters changed within 30 days rather than waiting the full three months.

When Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

As you can see, different factors affect how often you should replace your furnace filter. You should keep in mind that just because your furnace filter isn’t completely dirty doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be replaced. As soon as you can see dust and debris building up, it’s time to change it.

Many furnace manufacturers suggest changing the filter every time the season changes. This way, you will not have to remember the last time you changed the filter or mark the replacement date on your calendar. And, yes, you will be changing the filter at the start of summer when you are likely only using your air conditioner. Even when the furnace is not in use, it can collect dirt and dust, which will gather in the HVAC’s coils and make the system operate inefficiently. For this reason, it’s best practice to change the furnace filter even when it is not in use — whether that’s every three months or at the start of each season.

The Power of High-Quality Media Filters

Many homeowners are beginning to replace their standard furnace filters for high-quality media filters, which are pleated 4-5” thick models that do a better job of cleaning the air. They have a larger surface area so they can hold more bacteria and allergens and still provide plenty of airflow through the system. The best part of all? These filters can last up to a full year in most homes before they need to be replaced. This can save a lot of hassle trying to remember to replace your dirty filters.

How Do I Change My Furnace Filter?

Since your furnace filter will need to be changed frequently, you’ll quickly become a pro at replacing air filters. Fortunately, changing a filter is easy.

Turn off the power supply to your furnace. Slide the dirty filter out of its slot (you may have to unscrew a furnace cover first), and then toss it into the trash if it’s disposable. Replace it with a new filter that is the same size. If you have a reusable filter, vacuum or brush off the surface dirt, wipe it with a lint-free, damp cloth, and then let it dry before reinserting it into the furnace. Once the new (or clean) filter is in place, turn the furnace back on.

Maintaining Your Furnace’s Efficiency

While you may not need to change the furnace filter every month, checking it every month is a good idea. Remember, replacing a standard filter every three months (or a year for high-quality media filters) is the maximum amount of time you should let go by before installing a new filter. Changing the filter is a great first step in maintaining your furnace. Make sure you also schedule regular furnace maintenance to ensure top-notch efficiency. Whether your furnace is making a beeping noise or you need furnace replacement in Philadelphia, PA, our team offers a comprehensive suite of services to ensure your heating system is ready to keep you and yours comfortable all season long. For more information, contact us today!

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