When is the Right Time to Change Your Home's Air Filter?

Learn when is the right time to change your home's air filter and how often should it be changed for optimal performance.

When is the Right Time to Change Your Home's Air Filter?

In general, most air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies recommend changing your 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. 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.

Typically, your home's air filter needs to be replaced between once every one and six months, with an average of every three months. If you can't remember the last time you replaced it, it's likely that you're behind schedule. Air filters should be changed every 90 days on average. An HVAC filter will only last one to three months on average.

Which means you need to keep track of the date you installed them. If you wait too long to change the filter, indoor air quality will suffer. It's more economical to change filters regularly and prevent this problem from happening in the first place. If your dirty air filter is completely covered with dust and dirt, it's a good idea to change the filter even if it hasn't reached the end of its recommended life.

Restricted airflow caused by dirty filters prevents the air conditioner from reaching its destination. Therefore, you will most likely need to change it more often in the middle of winter and when summer temperatures start to rise. This is especially true if homeowners begin to notice particles floating in the air and subsequently cause allergic reactions. 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. According to experts, you should get a filter with a MERV score of 6 to 8 to get the best performance.

Numerous contaminants and debris, including excess dust, can cause air filters to clog and reduce air circulation throughout the home. Now that you know the problems that a dirty or clogged air filter can create, you'll want to change yours right away. While these factors affect the frequency of air filter replacement, you should visually inspect the filter every month for excessive particulate buildup. Air filters trap pet hair, dust, and other irritating particles so that the air conditioning system returns fresh, clean air to your home. People with allergies and asthma are likely to notice the difference in air first because of its high sensitivity.

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. If there is an asthmatic or allergic person in your home, they are much more sensitive to airborne particles than those who don't.If you use air filters in this category, your HVAC system needs to do extra work to circulate cool air in your home. The manufacturer's recommendation is not the final answer as to how often you should change the oven filter.