How Often Should You Change Your HVAC Filter?

Professional air duct cleaning technician replacing dirty HVAC filter

A lot of HVAC cleaning and maintenance should be left to an experienced technician that knows what they are doing. But there are some things that you can do yourself that will help keep your system running efficiently and prolong its lifespan. A good example of one such thing is changing your HVAC filters. This is quick and simple to do – there's nothing more to it than buying the correct filter and changing them over – probably a 2-minute job at most. What a lot of our customers in Arvada get hung up on is how often they should be changing their filters.

Exactly How Often Should You Change HVAC Filters Over?

This will vary somewhat from household to household based on a number of factors, which we’ll get into below, but for the sake of having some rough guidelines to follow, here’s what our Arvada air duct cleaning team recommends:

  • If you have an older HVAC system that uses cheaper fiberglass filters, it’s recommended that you replace the filter every thirty days.
  • In the case of newer HVAC systems that used higher-quality pleated filters, at a minimum we’d recommend you change them over three months, but you should monitor their condition frequently after 45 days, as in some cases they may need to be changed sooner.

But we must stress that these are rough guidelines and that in each home there may be factors that either speed up the deterioration of the filter or necessitate more frequent replacing of the filter.

More Frequent Filter Changes May be Required If...

If any of the following apply in your household, you’ll likely want to change your filters more often than the guidelines described above.

  • You Have Pets – If you have pets that live indoors – cats and dogs are the most common culprits here – that shed hair, your filters likely won’t last as long. Pet hair and dander gets everywhere! Your filters will get blocked up quicker and you’ll want to arrange air duct cleaning and carpet cleaning more often too. You’ll likely be changing a pleated filter after 45-60 days, instead of 90 days.
  • Asthma or Allergies – Indoor air quality is important for everyone in the home. But if there’s someone in your household that suffers from asthma or allergies, HVAC cleaning and frequent filter changes become even more important, as they are extra sensitive to contaminants in the air. New filters will likely be necessary every 45 days.

Factors that Can Accelerate the Deterioration of Your HVAC Filter

As mentioned, HVAC filters do not have a set period for which they stay in good working condition. There are lots of variables in a home environment that can shorten their lifespan, and we’re going to talk about some of the main ones below.

  • How Often is Your HVAC System Used? – Like any product, the more you use your HVAC system – and subsequently your filter – the quicker its condition will deteriorate. The local climate has a significant impact on how often you'll need to change your filters. If it's mild year-round, and your HVAC system is only used sparingly, your filters will almost certainly last far longer than what we've outlined above. But if you live somewhere like Arvada, where it gets cold in the winter and it’s warm in the summer, you’ll be using your HVAC system more frequently, which will accelerate the wear on the filters.
  • How Good is Your Indoor Air Quality? – The better your indoor air quality to start with, the less your HVAC filters will have to, well, filter. Meaning they last longer. And obviously, the opposite is also true. So if you have lots of pets, you live in a city (more dust), if your home is damp and humid and your cooking equipment is old, your indoor air quality will be quite poor and your HVAC filters will need to be changed more frequently.

How Will You Know It’s Time to Change the HVAC Filter?

Unfortunately, there's no magical HVAC fairy or push notification that is going to tell you your HVAC filter has deteriorated to the point that it needs changing. Here’s what you can do instead.

  • The guidelines we set out initially at the start of this article are a good baseline. Check in on the condition of your filter at the 30-day mark if it's a fiberglass filter and 45 days if it's a pleated filter.
  • Visibly check the condition of the filter. Is it clogged up with dust and dirt? If so, it’s definitely time for a fresh one. If there’s only a small amount of build-up on the surface of the filter, give it a quick bang outside or over the garbage container, and reseat it. You don’t need to change it just yet.
  • If you notice strange noises coming from your HVAC system or have just got the energy bill and it has skyrocketed recently, it could be an indicator that your filter needs changing (or that you’re overdue an air duct cleaning or very thorough HVAC cleaning and service). You ideally don’t want to wait until you see these symptoms though, as it’s really too late.

Friendly Arvada HVAC Cleaning Professionals at Your Service

Over forty years of experience and thousands of satisfied customers. Need we say any more? We're in the business of making furnaces and AC units run more efficiently, lowering energy costs and improving your indoor air quality. To set up an appointment today, call our friendly air duct cleaning team on (720) 419-7792.

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