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How Often Should You Replace Your Home Furnace Air Filter?

Close up dirty air conditioner furnace air filter


Did you know that the lowest temperature recorded in the United States was a miserly -80ºF? If that doesn’t have you wanting to crank up the heat, we don’t know what does!

Speaking of cranking up the heat, part of making sure you have heat to turn up means keeping your furnace in good working order. And THAT means making sure your air filters are working correctly. 

For those of us who want to know “how often should I change my furnace air filter at home” to keep our heaters running correctly, this guide can help. Let’s take a look at what to know about changing your furnace air filter.  

How Often Should I Change My Furnace Air filter at Home?

Although we wish there was a simple answer to this question, the reality is that a number of different factors affect how often you should change your furnace air filter. 

While the general rule of thumb is to switch out the filter every three months, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Let’s check out some of the factors that will affect how often you change your filter. 

The Size of the Filter

The first factor that will affect how often you need to change your furnace filters is the size of the filter you’re using. You can see the exact size of the filter by checking the label on the frame of the device. 

The thinner the filter is, the more often you’ll need to replace it. That’s because dirt and debris will build up on the filter and make it less effective and also a fire hazard.

A few recommendations for how often you should change your filter include:

  • 1″ and 2″ furnace filters: Every 1 – 3 months
  • 3″ and 4″ furnace filters: Every 6 – 9 months
  • 5″ and 6″ furnace filters: Every 9 – 12 months

Once again, there’s a lot more that goes into these time estimates than just the size. If you’re dealing with other factors on this list, you might have to change them more frequently. 

If You Have Allergies

The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America states that it’s important to maintain proper indoor air quality. This helps reduce breathing problems for people with allergies in the home. 

The reason for this is that dust and pollen can build up on your furnace’s air filter. Then, every time the furnace blows hot air into the house, it also blows those allergens into the house!

If you or someone in your home struggles with allergies, consider changing the air filter in your home every six weeks. This can help keep your indoor air quality at its best and make breathing easier. 

Owning Pets

Pet owners with furry friends like dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and other fuzzy furbabies know that pet dander and hair can get around the home pretty easily. 

That’s especially true during hot summer months when your animals are shedding their thick winter coats!

Since pet dander and fur will also pile up on the furnace filters in your home, it’s a good idea to change out your filters more frequently. Every 60 days, consider swapping your air filters so you can get rid of Fido’s fur in the furnace.

Having Children

Another reason to change your air filters out frequently is if you have young kids. Young kids need to be able to breathe easily, which means you need to maintain good air quality in the home. 

Just like you would for people with allergies, it’s best to change your air filters out regularly. Every couple of months, swap out your furnace air filter to make sure your kids aren’t breathing polluted air. 

The Amount of Use Your Furnace Gets

As you can probably guess, furnaces that get more use than others will need to have their filters changed more frequently. 

For example, let’s say you live in Florida where temperatures tend to be mild in the winter. You probably won’t be using your furnace as often as someone, say, in Alaska!

What that means is that you won’t have to change your filter as often. On the other hand, if you’re living in an area that constantly requires you to have your HVAC system running, you’ll need to change the filter every four weeks or so.

Your Home’s Size

The size of your house can also affect how often you’ll need to change your furnace. Smaller homes don’t require the furnace to pump as much air around, meaning that you won’t have to change your filter as often. 

However, smaller homes also usually come with smaller furnaces and therefore smaller filters. That means that you might have to change the filter frequently just because of its size.

Keep the size of your home and the amount of work the furnace is doing to move air throughout the house in mind when figuring out how often to change your furnace filter. 

Why Changing Your HVAC Filters Is Important

Okay, so you’ve seen some of the factors that go into the frequency of changing your air filter. But why do they matter? It wouldn’t hurt to leave the filter for another couple of months, right?

As a matter of fact, it would. 

When you have dirty HVAC filters, you run into tons of issues such as: 

  • System damage and malfunction
  • Worse airflow in the home
  • Contaminants getting into your indoor air
  • Build up dirt in your ductwork 
  • Higher electric bills 

Unless you want to be dealing with these issues on a never-ending basis, it’s best to go ahead and change the filters fairly frequently.

Keep Your Furnace Air Filter in Good Working Order

Now that you know the answer to the question “how often should I change my furnace air filter at home,” you’ll have a better idea of what’s required to keep your HVAC system in good working order.

Speaking of keeping things in good working order, our team can help you do that! Get in touch with us to order furnace and HVAC filters for your home today.

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