How to Change Your Apartment's Air Filter

Learn how often you should change your apartment's air filter and how to do it correctly with this expert guide.

How to Change Your Apartment's Air Filter

As a tenant, you are usually expected to replace air filters in your apartment. This includes buying the filters, although some landlords may provide an extra pair as a courtesy. However, there may be some variations, so it is important to check your lease for specific expectations. The general guidelines for how often to change an air filter in an apartment are the same as for a single-family home or townhouse. Most air filters last from 1 to 3 months.

The longer the filter is in place, the more dirt, dust and allergens it will trap, clogging the filter and reducing its efficiency. While conditions vary for oven and AC air filters, there are also guidelines for how often you need to replace oven air filters. You can also tell it is time to change the filter when parts of the HVAC system start to break down due to clogged filters. It is generally recommended to change your home's air filter every 30 days when using less expensive fiberglass filters. The air cleaner model affects the frequency of change and is specified in the manufacturer's specifications.

Put a reminder in your calendar or choose an easy-to-remember day, such as the first day of the month, so you always know when it is time to change your apartment's air filter. If you are not sure where the filter goes or how to install it, contact your apartment maintenance team to ask or request someone to come and do it for you. You may notice that the filter is clogged when you start to hear a significant reduction in airflow inside the system compartment inside your apartment. If you live in a “smaller house”, your air conditioners and ovens need to pump less air for the same amount of temperature change, which could mean fewer filter changes. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), “indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality”.

Not only does changing your air filter improve the air quality inside your home, but it also traps dirt, dust and pet dander, helping your apartment's air conditioner work more efficiently. If your air filters are not changed regularly, long-term (and costly) damage to your HVAC system is quite possible. A standard air filter removes particles from the air that circulates throughout the building. When you remove the air filter from the air handling unit, if you hold it up close to a light source, you can see if it is dirty or clogged; if you cannot see any light through the filter, it is definitely time to change it. Your landlord will replace the blower's primary air filter, but you are likely responsible for changing the air filter in the return air duct connected to your apartment.