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How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filter?

A person's hands replacing an air filter.

Most heating and air conditioning systems have an air filter that’s usually found near the air handlers or return air vents. Although hidden behind a panel, these filters can significantly affect your comfort and energy usage.

When you let your furnace filter become dirty, this will cause your heating system to work harder than it has to — potentially leading to higher energy bills. Fortunately, replacing filters is an easy and quick maintenance task homeowners can do on their own.

However, it’s important to mention that there are several guidelines for how often to replace furnace filters. Although changing the filter at least once every 90 days is a good idea, several factors can affect this frequency.

Below, we’ll discuss how often you should change your furnace filter according to your situation.

Filter Size & Material

There are many types of filters to choose from for your heating system. The thicker the filter, the less frequently it will need to be replaced. For example, if you have a one-inch thick filter, you should change it every 30 to 90 days. On the other hand, if you have a five-inch thick filter, you can usually go a whopping 6 months before replacing it.

Air filters are designed to trap airborne particles so that they don’t get recirculated into your home. If you wish to trap smaller particles, you can install a filter with a higher MERV rating. However, the higher the MERV rating, the more frequently you must change it. For instance, a filter with a MERV rating of 10 or 12 should be swapped out no less than every 60 days.

You’ll also want to consider your filter’s material. Pleated filters should be changed every 90 days, while flat filters must be replaced about every 60 days. This is because filters made from a pleated material have extra room to trap more particles.

As you can see, many rules exist for how often to replace furnace filters. You shouldn’t forget to consider your filter’s thickness, material type, and MERV rating.

Heating System Use

Believe it or not, your HVAC system usage can impact how often you should change your furnace filter. For instance, if you’re constantly cranking up the heat to stay cozy, you’ll want to replace your filter about every 60 days.

Do you tend to use your heating system sparingly? If so, you might be able to get away with changing your filter less frequently. Of course, you should also consider other factors, such as the type of filters you’re using and the size of your household.

Pets & Family Members

Do you have a large family? Are there any pets (such as cats and dogs) running around your home? You should certainly consider these factors to know how often to replace furnace filters.

The more family members you have, the more debris will get sucked into your air filters. So you’ll want to change your HVAC filters more frequently, about every 60 days, to make up for the number of airborne particles lurking in your home.

If you have a furry companion, this can also affect how often you should change your furnace filter. For example, if you have more than one pet, you should change the filter every 30 days. This is because your furry friends release pet dander into the air, which can clog up your filters.

Allergies & Asthma

If a household member has allergies or asthma, this can also impact how often you should change your furnace filter. The airborne particles your filter traps — such as dust, pollen, and pet dander — can negatively impact your indoor air quality. Unfortunately, poor air quality in your home can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms. That’s why you should replace the filter on a 30 or 60-day schedule.

Choose Squeaks for Your Heating Needs!

Many local furnace repair companies will tell you to replace your furnace filter regularly to enhance your heating system and air conditioner’s performance. Plus, you can potentially save money on your energy bills and improve your comfort — a win-win situation for homeowners.

Now that you know how often to replace furnace filters, it’s time to think about your heating system’s needs. Is it time for you to schedule a repair? Are you ready to upgrade your furnace? Whatever the case, Squeaks can help.

You can count on us for reliable HVAC repair in Louisville, CO, or the surrounding area. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

A person's hands replacing an air filter.

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