3 Factors That Affect How Often You Change Your Air Filter

Posted on: 28 June 2018

According to conventional wisdom, HVAC air filters should be replaced at least once every three months to keep the HVAC system in great shape. Some experts even recommend monthly air filter changes to eliminate allergens and dramatically improve indoor air quality. However, the following factors can easily lengthen or shorten your air filter's actual lifespan.

1. Air Filter Type

Every air filter serves the same purpose--to prevent dust, debris, and other unwanted particles from entering your HVAC system. However, not all air filters are created equal. Some air filters offer only minimal performance against dust and debris, while others can capture over 99 percent of harmful particles in the air.

It all comes down to the makeup of the filter itself. The smaller the air filter's pore size, the more particles that are trapped within the filter. Air filters with high MERV ratings usually feature smaller pores to better capture small particles, some as small as 0.3 microns in size.

If you're using an efficient HVAC air filter with a high MERV rating, then there's a good chance you may need to replace it sooner than you would an ordinary air filter. This doesn't mean you can keep a lower-quality air filter in place for a bit longer--only that you may need to change your air filter sooner than recommended air filter replacement intervals suggest.

2. HVAC Usage

The amount of time you use your HVAC system can also influence the longevity of your air filters. If you run your HVAC system nonstop, then there's a good chance you'll need to replace your air filters well before the recommended replacement interval.

Using your HVAC system sparingly may also help extend the life of your air filters. However, you shouldn't sacrifice cooling or heating comfort simply to stretch out the life of your HVAC air filter.

3. Overall Cleanliness

Conditions inside your home can also affect how long your HVAC air filter will last before it needs replacing. An incredibly dusty indoor environment, for example, can easily make your HVAC air filter short-lived. Under such conditions, your air filter will fall well short of the typical 30-day service life for most filters.

On the other hand, good housekeeping can result in exceptional longevity for your HVAC air filter. Proper vacuuming and dusting can significantly reduce airborne particles and pollutants in the air. This also reduces the amount of work your air filter does to keep your home's indoor air clean.

It is important to keep your HVAC equipment in good shape. Keeping your air filters clean and changing them whenever it is necessary will help your system to last as long as possible. 


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After we purchased our very first home, I realized that I was really struggling with paying for the heating and cooling costs. We were spending much, much more money every month than we thought we were going to, and it was really difficult to figure out what we should do. We thought long and hard about how to minimize our expenses, but we didn't really get anywhere until we talked with an HVAC contractor. He mentioned specific, actionable ways to lower our bill, such as programming our thermostat and using more of our ceiling fans. This blog is all about lowering your bill.

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