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How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Filter?

a mature air conditioning technician

How often should you change your furnace filter depends on a wide range of factors, including the type of furnace and air conditioning system you have installed, how frequently your HVAC system runs, your dust and pollen levels, and so on.

Why is it important to replace your air filter regularly?

The air filter is responsible for removing dust, pollen, pet dander, pet hair, dust mites, bacteria, spores, and other contaminants that float around in the air. Eventually, the air filter will accumulate these things in the filtration materials. As it does, the airflow through the filter will start to deteriorate.

If you do not replace your air filter regularly, your furnace or air conditioner will continue to run. Yet, it will run longer, work harder, strain, and increase your energy bills. The system could even overheat when airflow is almost fully cut off from a very dirty and clogged air filter.

Ensuring the air filter is replaced frequently helps keep your heating and cooling system running more efficiently, maintains better indoor air quality, and helps you get the most life out of your HVAC system.

How often should you change your HVAC system filter?

As a general rule, you should replace the filter every 90 days or 3 months. However, if you use fiberglass filters, then you need to change these every 30 days. Fiberglass filters are of a lower quality, so they quickly accumulate dirt, dust, and debris. Regardless of whether you use fiberglass or fabric-based pleated filters, you also need to account for various factors that could affect how often you need to replace your air filter.

What factors affect how quickly your air filter gets dirty?

Dirty clogged air filter

Some of the more common factors that determine if you require more frequent filter replacement include:

  • The MERV Rating on the Filter: MERV ratings refer to the effectiveness of the air filter to remove particulate matter from the air. The higher the rating, the more effective the filter is, although higher-rated filters have smaller air holes and can clog more quickly.
  • How Often the HVAC System Runs: In Texas, you may not run your furnace much during the winter, so the 90-day general rule may not apply. However, during the hot Texas summers, your air conditioning can run constantly, so you may need to change the air filter more frequently.
  • The Size of Your Home: The larger the home, the more air that is circulated to heat and cool it. As such, your filter changes may need to occur more often.
  • The Number of Pets in Your Home: Homes with pets can require more frequent air filter changes since they can get clogged with pet hair and pet dander.
  • Certain Medical Conditions and Allergies: If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory medical conditions or have seasonal or other types of allergies, it is better to change the filter every 60 days.
  • Outdoor Air Quality: The outdoor air quality can influence the frequency of air filter replacements. In the spring, when pollen is a problem, you may want to change them more often. The same is true if there are extended periods where it is dry and dusty.
  • Home Renovation Projects: If you are renovating your bathroom, kitchen, or other interior areas, you will want to replace your air filter every few weeks to once a month, depending on the type of project, until it is completed.

As every household is different and will have different factors that influence the frequency of air filter replacement, it is best to do a visual inspection of fabric-based filters every month. Monthly visual inspections allow you to determine the proper filter replacement schedule for your home.

If you have any questions about air filter replacement or want to schedule an appointment for HVAC system maintenance in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin area, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

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