When Should You Change Your HVAC Air Filter? | Hometown Heating, Air & Electric Skip to content

When Should You Change Your HVAC Air Filter?

As air travels through your HVAC system, it’s forced through an air filter. This filter works to remove impurities from the air like pet dander and dust. To ensure that your air filter is consistently improving the quality of the air inside of your home, it’s important that it gets changed on a regular basis.

How to Tell That Your Air Filter Needs Changing

The best way to determine that it’s time to change your air filter is to take a look at its state. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to hold a new filter up to a light and see through it. When your air filter has reached the end of its lifespan, it will be packed full of dust and other debris. When you hold the filter up to a light, you’ll no longer be able to see through it.

How Often Should You Visibly Inspect Your Air Filter?

If you’ve done any research online to see how often your HVAC air filter needs to be replaced, it’s likely that you’ve run across the recommendation of replacing it every three months. While this is a good general time frame for most households, it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. The specific conditions of your home, how often you run your HVAC system, and many other factors can affect how long your air filter will last. It’s typically recommended that you pull your air filter out once a month and check to see if it needs to be replaced.

Factors That Affect Filter Lifespan

The air filter inside of your HVAC system is a necessary component to ensure that the quality of your indoor air remains adequate. As soon as the filter starts to reach the end of its lifespan, it won’t be able to effectively filter out many of the harmful allergens that show up inside your indoor air. Households where family members have respiratory illnesses, asthma, allergies, and young children, should have their HVAC filters changed on a more consistent basis.

If you have multiple pets inside of your home, they’re constantly creating pet dander. This can make your air filter work much harder and greatly shorten its lifespan. Some other common factors that can influence the amount of time that the average filter will last in your HVAC system include smoking inside the home, how often you run your HVAC system, your typical household cleaning habits, and so much more.

How to Replace Your HVAC Air Filter

Changing out your HVAC air filter is something that you’re going to want to learn how to effectively do since it needs to be replaced on a consistent basis. Before you change out your filter, it’s a good idea to turn off your entire HVAC system. Next, you’ll want to access the filter housing. This may be located near the air handler or one of the wall vents, depending on the specific type of HVAC system that you have inside of your home. It’s a good idea to consult an HVAC professional or the instruction manual for your specific HVAC system to determine where the filter housing is.

Once you locate the filter housing, you’ll want to open it up and remove the old air filter. Go ahead and hold it up to a light source and see if it needs to be replaced. If so, you’ll want to have another filter on hand that is the exact same model number as the one that’s inside of your system. Make sure that you read the instructions that come with the new air filter to ensure that it’s being installed correctly. Many HVAC systems will have arrows that will help you to determine the appropriate direction to install the air filter so that it’s not installed backwards.

What Filter Replacement Should You Use?

When you go to purchase a new air filter for your HVAC system, you’ll need to have the existing filter’s model number so that you can purchase the same one. There are various different types of filters that you can purchase, including pleated, fiberglass, HEPA, and even reusable ones. Each of these different filters comes at its own price point and filtering capability.

It’s crucial to note that every HVAC air filter will have a MERV rating. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and is ranked on a scale from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rank, the more efficient the air filter will be at trapping dust and other airborne particles. If you’re concerned about increasing the effectiveness of your HVAC air filter, you want to select one that has a higher MERV rating than your existing air filter.

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