Your home air filter is an important part of your HVAC system, trapping mold particles, pollen, and other contaminants to keep your indoor air quality clean. But how often do you need to change it? It depends on a few factors, such as the location of your home, if you have pets, and the age of your system and equipment. In general, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing your air filter every 90 days or 3 months. However, if you have pets in your home, you should consider changing the filter every 60 days or 2 months, and for households with multiple pets or people with allergies or respiratory conditions, we recommend changing the filter every 20 to 45 days.
Vacation homes or vacant homes that don't have much use can expect to change filters every 9-12 months. A smart way to determine if the air cleaner is dirty is to test the white foil. This involves hanging a clean white sheet approximately 5 inches from one of the vents for at least an hour. If the sheet turns gray, you have a dirty air filter. The greyer the leaf, the dirtier the filter will be. The only way to ensure how often you need to change your air filter is to perform a visual inspection of the filter every month.
After a few months, you'll get an idea of how quickly it gets dirty. You'll need to reassess if you have a new pet or if the outdoor air quality has been poor. The general consensus is that the more you use your home, the more you need to change the air filter. If you live in a big city, pollutants such as smoke, dust and other debris will seep inside and clog the air filter at a much faster rate. Filters with a MERV 16 rating or lower are considered HVAC system grade filters for residential, commercial, and general hospital use. Changing the filter more frequently ensures that the filter has the available surface area needed to filter contaminants that trigger symptoms among your loved ones.
Pleated air filters are more expensive at first, but they are also more efficient at trapping particles and can last up to 90 days, depending on use. It's important to remember that replacing your home air filter regularly is essential for keeping your HVAC system running efficiently and preventing costly repairs down the line. If you're unsure about how often you should be changing your air filter, consult with an HVAC professional for advice.