How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?

Your HVAC system strains the air that it recirculates throughout your home using an air filter located over your air return duct. You may not think all that much of your air filter but the truth is it’s importance really can’t be understated. Just about any type of problem or inefficiency with your air conditioner can in some way be directed back to a dirty or clogged air filter, and that’s frustrating when you consider that changing your air filter is an extremely simple service..

And yet, despite the fact that it’s so easy to swap out your air filter, we find that far too many people simply don’t change their air filter often enough. While in many cases this is simply because their filter is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing, others don’t change their filter because they simply don’t know how often they should be making this switch.

To help you take better care of your system and improve your overall quality of life at home, here are some helpful tips for how often you should be changing your HVAC system air filter, as well as some helpful advice regarding signs that your air filter may need changed soon.

Check Your Air Filter Regularly

You don’t have to replace your air filter all the time, but you should at least be making a habit of checking it regularly. The average homeowner should check their filter once a month in order to ensure it’s still in good condition. A filter that gets too dirty can have some serious consequences for your HVAC system, so you want to make sure you’re keeping track of the condition of your filter on a regular basis.

Checking your air filter is easy: simply shut off your air conditioner temporarily and then lift the front panel. Your filter should be located over your air return vent, usually on one of the sides of the unit. Simply remove the spring or mechanism holding it in place and then pull the filter out to inspect the side facing the vent. If it’s a distinct grey color or is obviously packed with dust and other debris, then the time has come to replace the filter. If it’s still mostly white in color and looks as though it’s still working as it should, then it’s okay to leave it in place.

Every Home Is Different

There’s another important thing to know: no two homes are going to have to replace their air filter at the same interval. Some homes can go for months with an air filter that works perfectly fine. Other homes will have to change their filter every month. It all depends on a number of factors that may or may not be under your control.

One of the most influential factors in how quickly your air filter clogs up is simply how often you run your HVAC system. When your air conditioner is on, heater is going or even if you just have the fan for your HVAC system turned on to circulate air throughout your home, air is being pulled through your HVAC air filter - and that means it’s going to slowly and steadily accumulate dust and debris. If you’re running your system almost constantly, then you’re going to have to change your filter more often. If you only run it once in a while, you can go a significantly greater time before needing a replacement.

Another factor that increases wear on your HVAC air filter is the size of your home. Do you live alone in a small apartment? Then your air filter will more than likely last quite a while before needing replacement. Do you live in a large house with a spouse and several kids? Then your air filter is going to see substantially more work. Even homes with multiple HVAC systems may still need more frequent HVAC filter changes.

Another factor people don’t often consider is pets. Pets like dogs, cats and even small animals like rabbits or hamsters all release dander into the air and this dander can contribute to allergies, asthma and extra buildup in your HVAC air filter. If you have pets, plan on changing your air filter more frequently, particularly if they are larger and shed fur at a high rate.

Do you need your HVAC system serviced? Get it repaired or replaced by the team from Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar by calling us at (408) 868-5500 today!