When and How to Change Your Air Filter

Learn when & how often you should change your home's air filter for optimal performance & health benefits.

When and How to Change Your Air Filter

For safety reasons, it is important to turn off the HVAC unit before attempting to change the air filter. If you are unable to figure out how to turn off the unit, turn off the circuit breaker. Without a clean air filter, your HVAC unit will work harder and be more prone to breakdowns. Compared to other DIY home improvement projects, changing air filters is a quick and painless process that can be completed in less than an hour. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of how often air filters need to be replaced, leaving their system vulnerable to damage.

Read on to find out when and how to change your air filter. Generally, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing the air filter every 90 days or 3 months. This may vary depending on the location of your home (e.g. dry and dusty climates), if you have pets, and the age of your system and equipment.

If you have pets in the house, 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 usually wait to change filters every 9-12 months. The general consensus is that the more you use your home, the more you need to change the air filter. When it comes to air conditioner filters, they should be changed at least twice a year between major seasons. However, if homeowners regularly use their oven and air conditioner, the AC filter needs to be replaced more often.

A clear sign that the AC filter needs to be replaced is when the back of the unit is too hot. If the filter is heavily soiled, you may feel warm air coming out the back of the unit. A clogged filter forces the air conditioner to work harder in order to keep the house cool. This will lead to more frequent air conditioning repairs and ultimately shorten the life of the unit. Reduce this load by simply changing the AC filter regularly.

They are inserted in a specific location inside the return air duct (usually a large pull-down ventilation in the hallway or other place in the house).According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), this filtration helps provide healthier indoor air quality. When you take out the old filter and see an excessive amount of dust and dirt around the ducts or the space behind the filter, it's a clear sign that you have clogged return ducts. Air filters trap pet hair, dust, and other irritating particles so that the air conditioning system returns fresh, clean air to your home. While it is important that your AC filter size must be correct, homeowners have the option of choosing a different brand of AC filter. MERV 17 to MERV 20 filters are commonly used in operating rooms, cleanrooms and other settings that require absolute cleanliness.

Indoor air pollution is a huge health risk, and children and older people are more likely to suffer from asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems. The strongest filters are reusable, usually with metal frames, and can be cleaned according to manufacturer instructions. The ideal is to change your air filter every three months; however, there are certain factors to consider when determining when to change an old filter. The most economical and practical option for most homeowners is to use pleated or polyester air conditioning filters. Asthma sufferers can use air purifiers or air purifiers to lessen their suffering from hay fever, pollutants, and other sinus-related problems. A dirty air filter will not allow fresh, refreshing air to pass through it properly, leaving you sitting in a pool of unpleasant sweat. You will no longer be able to filter the air properly, allowing dust and contaminants to enter your HVAC system. If your central air system has been operating, wait until it cools down before changing your AC filter.