The condition of your HVAC air filters has a huge impact on the health, comfort, and efficiency of your household. If you allow these filters to become overly dirty or clogged, it leads to a number of negative outcomes. Your heating and cooling system will need to work harder, your energy bills will rise, you’ll have less control over your indoor comfort, and your air quality will worsen. As long as you replace your filters when they require it, though, you can avoid all of those problems.
So, how often is often enough when it comes to purchasing new air filters? Ultimately, the answer differs from household to household. When deciding how long to wait, there are several factors you’ll want to consider.
What Type of Filters Are They?
There are two common types of HVAC air filters, and each kind has different guidelines for how often they should be replaced. Pleated filters are the more expensive of the two, but they justify that value by performing excellently and lasting for a long time. On average, you can utilize a pleated filter for about three months before replacing it.
Fiberglass filters, on the other hand, don’t catch quite as high of a percentage of contaminants and only last for about 30 days, but they’re more affordable. Keep in mind that these are the average life expectancies for the filters, but those timeframes can change quite a bit depending on the factors discussed below.
What Time of Year Is It?
Different times of the year mean different necessary timeframes for replacing your HVAC filters. For example, during the harsh weather of winter and summer, you’ll be relying on your HVAC system to circulate air quite frequently. That means your air filters will be catching contaminants more often, and they’ll need to be switched out for new filters more often. During the spring, there will be more pollen in the air for your filters to trap, but you probably won’t need your heater or AC unit to run as often.
Ultimately, it comes down to a simple equation: the more air that’s cycling through your HVAC unit, the more quickly its air filters will become filled with contaminant particles.
How Large Is Your Home?
Many homeowners don’t realize that the size of their house has a direct impact on their air filters. If you live in a large house, it means that your heating and cooling system needs to circulate significantly more air to keep the entire residence comfortable. That means more work for your HVAC’s air filters. In a small house, though, you can likely get away with waiting longer between filter replacements. However, if you have a smaller home, you may also have small units with smaller air filters. Before assuming you can wait to replace yours, verify their size.
How Many Pets Do You Have?
If you have one or more pets, you’ll likely need to change out your HVAC’s air filters more often than a household without any. For one thing, furry pets mean you’ll have stray hairs and pet dander floating around in your air and being cycled into your HVAC system. This will typically make enough of a difference to necessitate replacing your filters significantly more often.
Additionally, if any of your pets spend time both outdoors, they’ll be regularly tracking dirt, pollen, and other debris into your home. Those particles are likely to be picked up and caught by your filters. As a general rule, the more pets you have, the more diligent you should be about the status of your air filters.
Do You Live in the City, Suburbs, or Country?
The type of area your house is located in can also play a role in the life expectancy of your air filters. For instance, if you live in or near a bustling metropolis, there’s likely to be a fair bit of pollution in the air, which will inevitably end up infiltrating your indoor air. That means more contaminants for your filters to trap. Alternatively, if you live in an area that’s affected by wildfires during the summer, your household filters will probably have to filter quite a bit of smoke out of your oxygen. However, if you live in the middle of the country or somewhere surrounded by lush trees, where the air is crisp and clean, your filters won’t need to work as hard.
Who Lives in Your Household?
Do you have a large family or several roommates? Are there typically multiple people inhabiting your home at any given time? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you should consider replacing your air filters more often than the norm. The more people there are living in your household, the more work your heating and cooling system is likely being asked to do. On the other hand, if you live on your own and are gone for eight hours every day, air probably isn’t being circulated all that often. As a result, you don’t need to worry about switching out the filters as often.
You’ll also want to consider exactly who’s living in your home. Specifically, children are typically more sensitive to contaminants in the air. Mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, and pollen will be harder on their respiratory systems than they would be for adults. If you have children living with you, you’d be wise to invest in pleated filters and replace them no less often than every two months.
The Value of a Visual Inspection
Over time, if you keep these factors in mind, you should be able to work out the ideal routine for how often to change your HVAC’s air filters. However, during the process of determining that routine, you’ll want to check the status of your filters regularly. Whenever you’re unsure whether or not it’s time to purchase new filters, your best bet is always to visually inspect your current ones. The simplest way to check a filter’s status is to hold it up to a light source. If you can’t see the light passing through it, that means it’s either clogged or excessively dirty. In that case, you shouldn’t procrastinate switching it out for a new, clean filter.
Black-Haak has been a reliable provider of heating and cooling services in Greenville, WI since 1956. Throughout Wisconsin’s hot, humid summers and chilly, windy winters, we’re always around to help keep your home comfortable and functional. In addition to our quality heating and cooling work, you can count on us for plumbing, electrical, and indoor air quality services, just to name a few. If you check out our online reviews, you’ll see first-hand accounts of how hard our expert team works on every job. To maintain these outstanding ratings, our family-owned business works with skilled technicians and utilizes an apprenticeship program to help our team members build their careers. When you’re ready to schedule an appointment, reach out to our team at Black-Haak!