How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?


When you’re the owner of a central HVAC system, there are a few things you’ll have to do to keep it in tip-top shape. For starters, it’s best to schedule annual maintenance appointments to make sure that your heating and cooling system is in pristine working condition. Another task to consider is replacing your furnace filters often — but do you know how often to change furnace filter replacements? Let’s dive in.

What Causes an Air Filter to Get Dirty?

Depending on where you live, there’s a chance you’ll either use your air conditioner or furnace almost every single day of the year or only during the summer and winter months — which is the case for most homeowners here in Middletown, Ohio. That being said, when your HVAC system is in use, there are a few factors that can cause your furnace filters to get dirty. One of those is the presence of airborne contaminants and allergens — such as airborne particles of dirt, pet dander, and airborne dust.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “How can dirt make its way into my furnace filter?” Simple: by walking inside with your shoes on. Think about it like this — whatever you walked through with your footwear on will wander into your home and latch to your flooring. And the minute you walk around, it will go airborne.

Another thing to consider is how often you clean your home. Dust, as it’s known, is a by-product of matter. If the dust is not cleaned, it makes its way into your air ducts — where it will eventually meet your furnace filter. And if your furnace filter isn’t replaced often, then dust can bog down the performance of your HVAC system, causing excess energy consumption in addition to hindering your indoor air quality.

How Often Should I Change the Air Filter in My House?

Typically, you should change your furnace filter about every one to three months. Doing this will not only lessen the chances of allergens being circulated through your home’s air supply, but it will even help your HVAC equipment work much more efficiently — saving you money on your monthly energy bills.

Of course, there are other factors that impact how often you need to change your furnace filter. Consider the following when determining a replacement schedule for your home’s furnace filter:

Types of Air Filters

Choosing the right furnace filter can go a long way in improving the indoor air quality of your home. Not all filters are created equal, and it is important to understand the various options available to you. The most common types of furnace filters are pleated filters and fiberglass furnace filters.

  • Pleated furnace filters are becoming increasingly popular due to their superior filtration capabilities. Made with a dense layer of accordion-like pleats, pleated filters are highly effective at trapping tiny particles such as pollen, dust, and pet dander. These furnace filters may cost slightly more than fiberglass filters, but they typically only need to be changed every 3-6 months, depending on HVAC system usage and other factors.
  • Fiberglass furnace filters are more affordable but are less effective at capturing smaller particles. If you use this type of furnace filter, you will need to change your furnace filter more frequently, usually every month or so, to prevent a dirty filter and maintain optimal performance for your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace system.

Pets at Home

Having pets in the home is a great way to add companionship and love to your life. However, it also means that you need to be extra vigilant about certain aspects of home maintenance, such as changing your furnace filter. Pets produce a lot of dander and and pets shed fur often, which clogs your furnace filter faster than usual.

This means that if you want to keep your indoor air quality at a healthy level for both you and your pets, it is essential to change the furnace filter more often. Additionally, dirty filters can decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system, making it work harder and increasing your energy costs.

Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It is a fact that your home’s air quality has a direct impact on the frequency at which you need to change your furnace filter. As air passes through your system, your furnace filter is responsible for trapping dust, pollen, pet hair, and other airborne particles that can circulate and contaminate your indoor air quality.

If your home is located near major highways or urban areas, or if there is more dust and dirt in your indoor environment, you’ll probably have dirty furnace filters sooner than you expect, which make it harder for your HVAC system to circulate clean air. Failure to change your furnace filter on a regular basis can result in reduced indoor air quality, an increase in allergy symptoms and respiratory issues, and even affect the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Household Size

The frequency with which you need to change a furnace filter can also depend on the size of your household. The more people living in your home, the more dust, dirt, and airborne pollutants are likely to circulate throughout your space, which means that your furnace filters may become clogged more quickly. By regularly replacing your furnace filter, you can prevent a clogged filter and ensure that you and your family breathe clean and healthy air, no matter what the size of your household.

Heating System and Air Conditioning Use

The frequency of replacing furnace filters largely depends on how much you use your heating and air conditioning systems. During high-use seasons, such as summer and winter, your furnace filters become clogged with dust, pet dander, and other airborne particles much quicker than during moderate-temperature months.

Neglecting to replace dirty filters compromises your HVAC’s efficiency and causes it to use more energy. A dirty furnace filter can lead to high energy bills, premature wear and tear, and even system breakdowns that require HVAC repair. To maintain optimal indoor air quality and ensure your HVAC’s longevity, it’s crucial that you are changing your furnace filter regularly, especially during heavy-use seasons.

How to Pick the Right Air Filter for Your Home

Now that you know how often to change your furnace filter, you’ll need to consider what type of air filter to choose. With so many options available when you shop for new filters, here’s a simple guide to what to look for:

  • Size: You’ll need to measure the size of the return vent and choose a furnace filter in the matching size. For example, if the vent measures 16 inches tall and 24 inches wide, with a depth of one inch, you’ll need a filter measuring 24x16x1. An easy way to find the right furnace filter is to check the measurements on the old filter before you buy a new filter.
  • MERV Rating: MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” and refers to how well the furnace filter can trap airborne contaminants. Furnace filters with higher MERV ratings will filter out more particles from the air, providing better indoor air quality. However, using a furnace filter with a MERV rating that is too high for your HVAC equipment can be responsible for restricting airflow. This causes your system’s components to work harder and consume more energy, which will cause more wear and tear and cost you more money in the long run. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended MERV ratings for your particular system before buying clean furnace filters.

We Have Air Filters That Can Help Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality!

Changing your furnace filters regularly is crucial for maintaining the optimal functioning of your heating system. Dirty filters not only decrease the efficiency of your furnace, but they also degrade the indoor air quality of your home. When you change your furnace filter regularly, you can ensure maximum efficiency and minimal indoor air pollution.

If you’re unsure about which furnace filters to purchase or are looking for high-quality options, Robinson Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. provides top-notch filters that meet all your heating and cooling needs, as well as expert heating and cooling services. To schedule an appointment with our team of indoor quality professionals, call (513) 790-4124 or contact us online.