How Often Should the Furnace Filter Be Changed?

Homeowner changing air filter in their furnace

Most heating and air conditioning systems have air filters. These filters are designed to trap and remove airborne particles, ensuring that you only receive clean and contaminant-free air. Plus, your furnace will be able to function without any obstructions.

Unfortunately, since the air filter is tucked away from sight, it’s easy to forget that you’re supposed to change it.

So, how often should you replace your furnace filter? Is there a specific schedule that you should stick to? Believe it or not, several factors can impact how frequently you need to replace the filter, including filter size, furnace usage, and your home’s indoor air quality.

Let’s discuss how often the furnace filter should be changed inside your home.

What Problems Can a Dirty Furnace Filter Cause?

As a homeowner, it’s not a stretch to say you have many chores that use up your time. Because you’re so busy, you might think that you can put off replacing your furnace air filter. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Neglecting to replace your filter can negatively affect your HVAC system. So, what happens if you don’t change your furnace filter? Use this guide to learn more:

How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace Filter?

You can follow a general rule of thumb for how often the furnace filter should be changed. For example, many HVAC professionals and manufacturers recommend changing the filter every 90 days (which translates to about once every three months).

Of course, your furnace filter can have different needs depending on several factors. For instance, some furnace filters can go longer than others before they need to be replaced. The filter’s specific design and size will significantly impact how frequently it should be changed out.

Every home is different — which means your specific furnace filter may have different needs than your next-door neighbor’s, and so on. Therefore, it’s important to take into account your specific situation to ensure that you’re doing what’s best for the air filter and your furnace.

Filter Size

As you may know, many types of filters are on the market. These filters can vary in material, size, and minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. A filter’s MERV rating will tell you the size of the particles it can trap. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter can capture.

Let’s start with the thickness of furnace filters. The thicker the filter, the less frequently you’ll need to change it. For example, it’s a good idea to replace filters that are one inch thick about every 60 to 90 days since they’re thinner and can get dirty much faster.

So, how often should you change four-inch furnace filters? In general, you should consider swapping it out every six months. On the other hand, if you have a five-inch filter, you can go nine to 12 months before replacing it.

We should also talk about filter materials. Most filters will be flat and made out of fiberglass or constructed out of pleated material. How often should you replace your furnace filter if it’s flat? As you can imagine, these filters can get dirtier quicker and should be replaced every 30 days. On the other hand, you can replace pleated filters every 90 days.

Furnace Use

Although the type of furnace filter you use can influence how often it’s swapped out, you’ll also want to take your heating needs into account. How often you use your furnace can impact how often the furnace filter should be changed.

Let’s get into specifics. If you’re constantly relying on your furnace to warm your home during the winter months, you should consider replacing the filter about every 60 days — or more, for good measure. If you live in a more moderate climate that doesn’t require heat every day, you can go longer without swapping out the filter.

Air Quality

Do you have a lot of pets, like cats and dogs? Are your countertops and shelves constantly dusty? If so, you could be dealing with poor indoor air quality in your home. Pet dander, dust, pollen, and many more airborne pollutants can wreak havoc on your home’s air, which may worsen allergy and asthma symptoms in your household.

Poor indoor air quality can cause many problems for homeowners, among various health problems. So, how often should the furnace filter be replaced if your indoor air quality is severely lacking? The answer to this question can depend on your situation.

If you have more than one pet in your home, you should consider swapping out the filter every 30 days. If you have a lot of dust, you should replace a one and two-inch filter every 30 days, your four-inch filter every 2-3 months, and so on.

Your family’s allergies can also affect how often you should replace your furnace filter. You should try to change the filter as often as possible if members of your family have allergies and asthma that can be impacted by airborne pollutants getting into your home.

Keep Your Furnace Running Smoothly With RR Electric!

As you can see, many factors can have a say in how often you should replace your furnace filter. Hopefully, you can use this guide to keep up with your filter’s needs and keep your furnace running at peak performance.

If you need a heating repairman in Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Calabassas, or the surrounding area, give RR Electric a call! We specialize in top-tier services for air conditioners, furnaces, and much more to keep your home as comfortable as possible.

Our technicians are familiar with all makes and models, so whether you need an electric heater repair or a furnace replacement, we have you covered. Your heating system will never work harder than it has to when our experts are on the job. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!