How Often Should You Replace the Air Filter in Your Home?

Learn how often you should replace your home's air filter depending on its type and other factors such as pet presence and outside air quality.

How Often Should You Replace the Air Filter in Your Home?

When it comes to maintaining a healthy home, one of the most important tasks is to regularly replace the air filter. Depending on the type of filter you have, the frequency of replacement can vary. A pleated air filter should be changed every 30 to 60 days, while a 2-fold air filter should be replaced every 3 months. A 3-fold air filter should be changed every 120 days and a 4-fold air filter should be replaced every 6 months.

The only way to be sure how often the air filter needs to be changed is to perform a visual inspection of the filter every month. After a few months, you'll get an idea of how quickly it gets dirty. You may need to re-evaluate if you're having a new pet or if the outside air quality has been poor. On average, air filters should be changed every 90 days.

An HVAC filter will typically last one to three months on average, so it's important to keep track of the date you installed them. If you wait too long to change the filter, indoor air quality will be affected. However, experts recommend changing it once every 30 days if the air filter is made of fiberglass filters, which are of relatively poor quality. On the other hand, expensive pleated filters can work well if replaced once every three to six months.

Over time, the air filter accumulates dirt, dust, fur, and other contaminants that can be found in the house. However, if you have a smaller appliance used to cool a small space, they often come with smaller filters, so you may have to change the filter more often than in a larger house. It doesn't matter if your air conditioning or HVAC system is used to heat or cool your home; the air that circulates eventually has to go through the filter. The ideal MERV filter for your home depends on your needs and what you have in your home. If you have young children in the house, it's a good idea to use high-quality pleated air filters and replace them every two months.

A home that is occupied most of the time will require more frequent use of the air conditioning system and therefore will need to replace the filter much sooner compared to an unoccupied house. A vacation home where you only live part-time will need far fewer filter changes than a large family home with numerous occupants. The HVAC air filter will trap air contaminants to prevent them from being recirculated throughout the house. If you're allergic, be sure to take note of how often you change your filters and always make sure you're using the correct type of filter.

Changing the filter more frequently ensures that the filter has enough surface area available to capture contaminants that cause symptoms among loved ones. The fewer occupants there are in a home, the less pollutants and debris will build up in your air filters. It will be easier for you to remember to do this important task if you learn how often you should change your air filter in the first place. Respiratory problems make you much more sensitive to particles in the air, so it's recommended that you change your air filter every six weeks for optimal indoor air quality. To ensure that only clean air comes out of your HVAC system, replace the air filter before it becomes clogged so you can breathe better. If someone in your family has severe allergies, it is recommended that you change your air filters very often - in some cases as often as every two weeks.